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Wellington Region Faces Economic Growth Challenge

NEWS RELEASE

26 February 2002

Wellington Region Faces Economic Growth Challenge


Slowing economic growth has highlighted economic challenges facing the Wellington region says the latest edition of Regional Outlook, published six-monthly by the Wellington Regional Council.

The report says that economic growth in the Wellington region has slowed over the past 18 months from between 3 – 4 % to between 0 – 1 %.

The region’s economy has not grown as much as the New Zealand economy as a whole since 1994. The major reasons are slower population growth and the flow-on effects from business contraction and relocation out of Wellington.

New industries are developing – such as film, television and information technology – but they are yet to achieve the size and economic impact to offset the decline in traditional industries such as finance, insurance, manufacturing and utilities.

“The economic challenges facing the region must be addressed through co-operation among business, local and central government,” said Wellington Regional Council Chairperson Margaret Shields. “This report is a wake-up call to the region. We cannot afford to be complacent on the back of some recent high profile success stories.”

Councillor Shields said that the region must address critical issues such as transport infrastructure, migration and support for small and medium sized businesses, if it is to successfully address the challenges this report identifies.

“There are particular challenges in the transport area. Transport bottlenecks exist on the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa, and between the Hutt Valley and the Western Corridor (Porirua / Kapiti Coast). The future of the region’s strategic road and rail network will also have a major effect on the region’s economic growth. Public transport helps free-up the roads leading to our commercial centres and the Port and airport.”

The report notes that there is a continuing contraction of financial and business service activities, and a steady drift of head offices out of Wellington. This drift is having an ongoing flow-on effect on service industries such as legal, accounting and advertising companies.

“While we can celebrate recent success stories like the Lord of the Rings, we must also recognise that we face a particular challenge to attract and retain people in this region and to support the growing number of small and medium sized IT, film and creative businesses,” said Councillor Shields.

Regional Outlook is prepared by Infometrics Ltd for the Wellington Regional Council. Copies of Regional Outlook are available from the offices of the Wellington Regional Council in Wakefield Street, Wellington, the economic development agencies of local councils, and on the WRC’s website at www.wrc.govt.nz/economy

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Hon Margaret Shields Andrew Gawith
Chairperson Managing Director,
Wellington Regional Council Infometrics
Ph 802 0346 Ph 473 0630

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