Kapiti Economic Development Association KEDA

James Cootes – Otaki WARD

James Cootes – Otaki WARD

  1. What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next five to ten years?


  • Business growth. Of all sizes and types. Especially attracting businesses to Kapiti, which in turn brings employment.
  • Outdoor recreational activities both in the mountains, through the villages and out to the sea. Our cycleways, walkways, bridleways are all assets that need promoting.
  • Organic farming is taking off more and more, especially in Te Horo.
  • Visitor attraction. We live in such an amazing part of NZ and more people can experience that. But to do so we need to tell the “Kapiti Story”.
  • Our mayor events are really starting to attract people to Kapiti and raise our profile.
  • Our whole marine environment, Kapiti Island, the marine reserve, whales, seals, fishing and all that links in with the Marine Centre referred to in Q:9
  • Funding from out of the district eg: Central Government, PGF, Private Trusts, partnerships



  • Leakage to WGTN. Both retail (people shopping out of Kapiti) and employment (more people working out of Kapiti, eg in WGTN)
  • Eg: rising rents and house prices.
  • Climate Change and the effects and cost that has on our coastline and communities.
  • Challenges that come with population growth.
  • Not working collaboratively and not making the most of the opportunities listed above.
  • Progressing things without a huge impost on the ratepayer.


  1. Economic growth has benefits for everyone living in the district. Kapiti needs a sound economic development strategy. How would you go about ensuring the strategy is developed and implemented and who should be involve?  Firstly the ED Strategy needs to be realistically achievable, its needs to be measurable and it needs to be reported on with tangible outputs that measure success. All the key stakeholders (eg those invited more recently in the ED Refresh) need to be involved and action MUST happen once a strategy has been finalised.


  1. Will Kapiti have the infrastructure needed to support projected population growth? If not, what are the key priorities for infrastructure development? Our Long Term Plan outlines our growth predictions and what infrastructure is needed to support that. However improved public transport options to Otaki and beyond need to be prioritised as they are long overdue.


  1. Council has a goal of being “Open for Business”. What does this term mean to you and what can Council do to ensure it achieves this goal? It’s a good question and one I think KCDC needs to better define itself. For me it means a can do attitude. As a regulatory authority there are times we may need to say no but it’s how we say it and what alternatives we offer to help the customer the best they can to succeed. It is something I have raised through the Independent Review of KCDC and I hope the findings in that review help us understand where we need to improve.


  1. Does Council have a role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here? If so, what kind of support should Council offer? I do think Council plays a role here but that is both Council as an organisation and elected members. What kind of support? Well first and foremost doing or core business well. Processing consents, managing enquiries, making our districts ED data readily available. Why? Because business brings employment and opportunities.


  1. How Important is it to tell the “Kapiti Story” and how would you go about supporting a project to do this? Like any business Kapiti’s story is like our districts brand. Anyone who knows anything about brand identity and marketing knows how important it is to define what’s unique about something, who its audiences are and how to reach them. It then requires doing something and that is where KCDC have, in my opinion, fallen short.


  1. The future of the well-patronised Kapiti Community Centre is in doubt due to the discovery of leaks and mould in the building. Do you believe Kapiti needs a Community Centre? If so, what needs to happen to ensure we have one? I do believe we need one but I think Council needs to seek the views of the users and wider community to better understand the communities desires. This would include the facilities purpose or use, its location, its facilities and ratepayers desire to fund any refurbishment or replacement and when?


  1. There has been much debate over the proposed Kapiti Gateway project. There are varying views on the need for a Gateway, the proposed cost and the proposed location. How would you work towards a solution that is acceptable to the various stakeholders, including Council, the community, retailers, visitors and affected parties? I’m very supportive of the Kapiti Gateway Project. I think it’s an exciting opportunity for Kapiti. In terms of working towards a solution KCDC needs to involve all the key stakeholders when and where appropriate to gather the variety of views, including scale of the “Gateway”, it’s function, location etc. There are many challenges and opportunities with this project and all parties need to work collaboratively together to hopefully deliver a proposal that is supported by the majority.


  1. The Raumati Swimming Pool complex has been lying idle for some time. It has been proposed that the complex be used to develop a Marine Discovery Centre, which would have both local and national significance. Do you support the development of such a Centre? How should it be funded? Who should lead this project? I think the Marine Discovery Centre is a fantastic proposal and would be a huge asset to the district, so yes I support it in principle. What I am not sure about is it’s feasibility to be financially viable. Once we know the cost to build and operate then you would look at who funds what and who leads the project. But it’s a fantastic concept.


  1. What are your views on the protection of our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure? Councils all around NZ are struggling with this topic and more support and leadership needs to be shown by Central Government and GWRC. Any decisions around protection or managed retreat needs to be based on informed discussions with our community, especially if they are to pay for it via rates.




Scroll to Top