The banner headline that took our attention read like this; Jobs surge thanks to building boom. And the story that accompanied it reads like this:
Job listings in Wanganui are up more than 25 per cent, with growth in the building sector, agriculture, healthcare and transport leading the way.
The TradeMe employment survey for the past three months saw Wanganui vacancies jump 27 per cent to 223, compared with the same period last year. The survey said the trades and healthcare were driving a large part of the region's growth.
Graeme Musson, branch manager at Allied Workforce Labour in Wanganui, said the development of several large buildings and retail centres had helped fuel the jobs' boost.
"There's a lot of positivity in Wanganui at the moment. I've haven't seen this number of cranes along the skyline in a long time."
One building under construction is the Victoria retail centre, including Farmers, which will boast seven specialty shops in the front. A retail development in Bulls has seen a new BP service station open with a Four Square due soon.
"The money's always been there but the confidence has always lacked," Mr Musson said.
"These are buildings being built by owners who live out of town and are investing here."
While the developments ensured a higher number of construction jobs, the retail sector would also benefit from more opportunities once the centres were up and running, he said.
This is fantastic news for the city of Wanganui and for the wider region. The Farmers development between Victoria Avenue and St Hill Street will turn an area that has been a wasteland and an eyesore for several years into a vibrant shopping precinct.
Further up Victoria Avenue the AA has just moved in to brand new premises, and a block further up there's a major development being built for Briscoes and Rebel Sports. And we heard whispers yesterday of a significant development in one of Wanganui's largest export businesses which is also going to have positive spin-offs for the company's suppliers and contractors.
As we have mentioned before, friends own a business which supplies to the building trade. This year has been their busiest ever, by some margin. Residential construction is also booming, as well as the commercial side of the industry.
After a number of years of lagging behind our Manawatu and Taranaki neighbours, the Wanganui region and the city itself deserve good news. The best news they could get on September 20th is to have a National-led government returned to office, and Chester Borrows elected for a fourth term as MP for Whanganui.