Kapiti Economic Development Association KEDA

Marica Johnson – Districtwide

Marica Johnson – Districtwide

  1. What do you consider to be the biggest opportunities and threats facing Kapiti over the next five to ten years?
  • Opportunities will be in finding innovative housing solutions, perhaps thinking in communities of housing rather than scattered in an ad hoc way.
  • Our large percentage of older residents presents an opportunity to have broad expertise and knowledge available in an innovative way to support the energetic optimism of young businesses.
  • Technology is an opportunity for workers to work from home, for small businesses to grow, and large businesses to take advantage of a very skilled community.
  • The biggest threat on the horizon at the moment is the lack of infrastructure sustainability. Resource consents are being approved and monies collected, yet flooding from development is still occurring. Our purpose in local body governance is to ensure infrastructure keeps up with the growth in a sustainable way.


  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 involved?
  • Economic development requires sustainable strategies. This necessarily involves training and education to fill roles as they become available.  A sound strategy requires people who have been successful in business and understand the bottom line from which to grow.  I would form a small oversight group which is devoted to a collaborative approach, working with business-centric industry bodies and educators to find the right balance for the local community.  A working group could then implement the strategy by coordinating the resources required.  I do not believe we require more resources for Council, I believe we could find efficiencies and effectiveness with current resources.


  1. Will Kapiti have the infrastructure needed to support projected population growth? If not, what are the key priorities for infrastructure development?
  • No, as stated above, I see the lack of strategic infrastructure a threat for the future.
  • I have personally met Council workers who are learning on the job. I believe that we need experienced engineers who have already gained considerable experience to resolve our infrastructure issues.  The required salaries paid to in-house expert engineers would be recouped from not using external contractors.


  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?
  • I would hope that it means Kapiti Council is available and proactively supportive of new businesses coming to the Coast.
  • We have 30% retirees on the Kapiti Coast. Surely we have the expertise and knowledge to bolster business and innovative, sustainable growth.  We need to find a way to tap into these incredible resource, possibly through monthly topic based forums.


  1. Does Council have a role to encourage businesses to relocate or establish here? If so, what kind of support should Council offer?
  • Information is the primary need for businesses making decisions. Current information could identify relevant community people to contact to support the businesses’ evidence-based decision making.  This would allow local networks to keep up with the growth, and feed further information back to Council regarding specific needs of the businesses considering a move to Kapiti.
  • Council should not offer economic support. If a business is not self-sustaining before coming to Kapiti, then it should become so in the first instance.



  1. How Important is it to tell the “Kapiti Story” and how would you go about supporting a project to do this?
  • I’m a firm believer in history being kept alive. My husband, Barry Page, has whakapapa ties back to early Kapiti and the McLean family.  His father, Bill Page, was New Zealand’s top amateur golf champion while living on the Kapiti Coast. A community scrapbook project could attract pictures and accompanying stories from families who have lived in Kapiti a long time.  This scrapbook then could include stories from people such as myself who have chosen to settle in Kapiti for a myriad of reasons. A series of scrapbooks would enable the story to continue and keep people mindful that we are living and building our story every day.


  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?
  • This is disappointing. Everyone I know has utilised the Community Centre for one reason or another.  I believe we do need such a facility.
  • In the first instance I would want to know the cause of the leaks. If it is lack of proper maintenance scheduling while the Council paid down debt, then this needs to be addressed in the first instance.
  • If the building cannot be repaired and utilised within existing maintenance budgets, then I would look at other assets the Council currently has. Millions have been spent on several structures over the past ten years and it would be a shame to ask tax payers to spend more on rebuilding the Centre.


  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?
  • In the first instance, information needs to be gathered from the various stakeholders. What do they believe the impact would be?  What aspects of the project appeal most to them, and what would be their compromise position?
  • The Gateway would likely bring in larger numbers of tourists. While this might bring more money to Kapiti in the form of visitors staying overnight and spending locally, has a study been done to ensure it is sustainable for Kapiti Island to have increased numbers of people visiting?
  • I would want to know that local Iwi have been a part of the collaboration and solution.


  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 would see a project like this as a ‘want’ instead of a ‘need’ for the community. Having said that, the question above signals some thought has gone into the project such that it is seen as having national significance.
  • If national significance has been shown through a study, then I would expect the local Council’s permission for the use of the property would be suffice input from Kapiti. The funding monies could therefore come from national and science bodies interested in establishing such a centre.


  1. What are your views on the protection of our coastlines and key coastal infrastructure?
  • I believe the coastlines should be allowed to do what coastlines do – they shift over the years.
  • Key coastal infrastructure should ensure that our storm drains and waterways are clean and green, flowing in such a way that there is no residential flooding or negative man-made impact on the coast.





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