Published: Wednesday 8 June 2022

What does the future look like for our CBD?

A vibrant CBD is critically important for New Plymouth and Taranaki. For many tourists coming into Taranaki, the CBD along with our airport is their first impression - and what a favourable impression it is. We can be justifiably proud of our award-winning airport and the avant garde and historic buildings we have in the CBD, such as the Len Lye Centre and the refurbished White Hart building, which are part of the West End precinct.

However, CBDs across NZ are struggling. In fact, their future is at risk. Why? They are unfairly competing against mega shopping complexes, often located at the outskirts of town, and they offer plenty of free parking. Furthermore, more and more people are shopping online, and this tends to hurt CBD retailers. That is why the Chamber is working with small retailers to get into e-commerce, and work on digital strategies to complement their bricks and mortar stores.

The CBD is a complicated thing, where change is the only constant. That's why BARA as part of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce has a crucial role to play, with respect to advocacy work and making representations especially to council on a raft of issues. Things like increasing parking capacity, the urgent repair and upgrade of the Downtown Carpark, a CBD recycling collection, and the regular trimming of the problematic alder trees.

The NPDC has a 2050 CBD strategy and BARA is keen to represent your views and concerns. The strategy has a strong pedestrian focus to encourage more people to socialise and linger longer in town. But a realistic strategy must be also be responsive to short term needs, and a vision which aligns with societal trends. What do you think?

What issues are concerning you and your business?  Business Voice is for you, and we want to hear from you.

Email us at and put Business Voice in the subject line.