top of page
  • Andrew von Dadelszen

Our Western Bay needs to do better

The Government Report “Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Growth Study”, released last week by Minister Joyce, is a bit of a wake-up call for the Western Bay. In my view this report missed the mark when it highlighted “Priorities for action”. It included the usual Regional local government strategies, but nowhere was there a mention of the wonderful work of Professor Chris Battershill, Chair of the Coastal Science Environmental Research Institute at Waikato University, and based at Sulphur Point, Tauranga.

I remember one of Chris’ presentations, when he advocated for marine pharmaceutical research, which offers Tauranga a game-changer with the potential to harvest marine based minerals that offer huge pharmaceutical potential. This offers our region high margin, exciting growth prospects, in contrast to (for example) unrealistic expectations for low commodity type mussel farming at Opotiki, with an estimated cost of $80m for the farm, hatchery and processing; and another $52m for the harbour development. There is no question as to where the best place from a New Zealand Inc perspective, is to put our investment.

The problem is that our local government politicians lack real vision, and just want to be seen to be fair and reasonable. Well let me tell you that this same “Growth Report” notes that GDP per Capita is higher in the Eastern Bay (and in Rotorua/Taupo) than it is in the Western Bay.

GDP per capita of BOP sub-region GDP per capita by Region, 2014

Source: Infometrics Regional Database

Western Bay and Tauranga City ratepayers continually subsidise Rotorua and the Eastern Bay, while the data clearly shows that the Eastern and Central Bay continually outperform us Westies in economic terms (on a per capita basis).

We need a Tauranga based University, but please ensure that it is clearly focused on improving economic development for our region. Tauranga University will be a wonderful asset to our city, so let’s make sure our politicians don’t pander to the PC by agreeing to study in unproductive “cultural” courses, but concentrate on real “add value” study. Integrating a substantive marine research institute into our proposed university will be a win-win for the whole of the Bay.

If you have a view on these or any other local government issues, I invite you to email me at , or visit

bottom of page