Need for improved medical centre

The Mackenzie district population  rose by  9.4% in the recent census.
The Mackenzie district population rose by 9.4% in the recent census.
The Mackenzie district has experienced the 10th highest population percentage increase in New Zealand, census figures have revealed.

While the neighbouring districts of Waimate and Waitaki experienced smaller growth, with rises of 4.6% and 3%, respectively, between 2006 and 2013, the increase in Mackenzie was more than double that, at 9.4%.

Despite the population of Fairlie falling by 24 people to 693 this year, the Lake Tekapo population rose by 51 to 369, which helped boost the population of the Mackenzie district to 4158, a total of 357 more than in 2006.

A total of 20,829 people now live in the Waitaki district, compared with 20,220 in 2006, and 7536 people live in the Waimate district, compared with 7206 in the last census.

The biggest increase in population in the Mackenzie district was seen in Twizel, which grew by 120 people to 1137 this year, from a population of 1017 in 2006.

Twizel Medical Centre general manager Andrew Tucker said that meant plans to raise funds for a new medical centre were more important than ever.

''The practice is getting busier year on year.

''There are obviously more people living in the area, there are more holiday-makers coming over, there are more people in holiday homes who have second residences here and, of course, there are more tourists, more buses that are stopping by, more camper vans driving past - all of those things.

''When those people come in, it increases the need to make sure we have good and well-managed healthcare in place to attend to those people if they need treatment.''

Mr Tucker said design plans for a new medical centre to replace the premises at a converted house, were now awaiting confirmation. Fundraising would be launched officially ''in the near future'', with a goal of raising all the money required.

However, the final costs of the centre would not be known until the architect's plans had been confirmed, but the project remained ''on track'', he said.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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