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Auckland business services lead regional growth

“Auckland business and financial services
lead regional economic growth”

Embargoed until 6.00pm, April 4, 2001

A report on regional economic activity just released by the Auckland region’s councils shows that the business and financial services industry overtook manufacturing as the biggest value-adding industry in the Auckland economy in the year to March 2000.

ARC Strategic Policy Chair, Gwen Bull, says this surprise fact was just one of several unexpected turns taken by various economic sectors during the year 2000.

The Auckland Region Business and Economy 2001 report was presented to the business community at a special function held at the Auckland Regional Council today (April 4).

“As expected, our regional economy suffered a little last year in the aftermath of two major high points – the millennium celebrations and the America’s Cup,” said Cr. Bull “What we didn’t expect or plan for was the sharp collapse of our dollar and the flow-on impact to a region that relies heavily on demand for its services from the New Zealand economy.”

“The loss in business confidence early last year was followed by a corresponding downturn in the domestic economy. Slow employment growth added to the equation resulting in a drop in household spending which in turn had an adverse impact on the retail, housing construction and manufacturing industries,” she said.

The report shows that by the end of 2000, economic growth in the Auckland region had fallen below the national average. On a lighter note, the report says health of the Auckland regional economy is expected to improve this year to grow alongside the rest of the country at a rate of 2.2%, rising above that by 2003

“While our population growth has slowed from the levels of the mid nineties, we’re still expanding light years faster than other areas of the country,” said Cr. Bull. “To June 2000, the population of the Auckland region increased by 1.5% compared to a 0.1% increase elsewhere.”

“This boost to our population numbers could easily lead us to believe we are better off. For example, it swells our gross regional product (GRP) -or the amount of services and goods produced in the region - when the real GRP per person is actually only increasing at the same rate as the rest of the country.”

“Secondly, official employment in the Auckland region over the year to September 2000 rose 2.1% to 540,300.”

Cr, Bull says the industries expected to grow the fastest in Auckland during the next few years include international tourism (and related industries such as accommodation and transport), information technology and communications, and export manufacturing.

“It’s important for the people of Auckland to understand the impact of population growth on our region and how the growth of the economy is directly related to the need for efficient, sustainable infrastructure, said Cr. Bull.

“The provision of regional infrastructure is a key influence in the overall pattern and direction of regional development and I urge our regional business sector to work closely with their local Councils to successfully meet their economic and business goals.”

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Gwen Bull, Chair, Auckland Regional Council Strategic Policy Committee,
Tel: (09) 366 2000 extn 8178

Or

Megan Perry, Communications, Auckland Regional Council, Tel. (09) 366 2000 extn 7135

Copies of the full report are available from ARC’s Enviroline on 09 366 2070


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