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Regional leaders focus on Wellington economy


Regional leaders focus on Wellington economy

Kerry Prendergast, Mayor of Wellington Margaret Shields, Chair of the Wellington Regional Council Marian Hobbs, MP Wellington Central

Wellington's economic future was the focus of the third meeting of regional MPs, local government and business representatives held at Parliament today.

"We are moving to a skilled economy and we need to manage that transition.

"An overview of the Wellington economy and evidence of confidence in the future promises a buoyant future. For example Wellington has the highest number of job advertisements in New Zealand, hotel expansion is set to increase capacity by 25 per cent, demand for CBD office space is positive and city house prices continue to climb.

"A 'Positively Wellington Business' report advised us to concentrate on specific areas including specialist manufacturing, ICT, education, creative industries and research and development.

"We recognise we have some major challenges, not unique to Wellington but which need to be addressed, such as transport and energy.

"We agreed to follow up on a number of related issues to do with both an appropriate labour force and jobs for those whose work had just closed. Both these issues required some local, regional and central government coordination. This task is to be explored and presented to the next meeting.

"The immigration pilot scheme was discussed and its mid-term report was to be followed up on.

"We spent some time discussing the issue of working together more positively, sharing information, resources and identifying gaps.

"We did not want to become 'Spin City' but the successes demonstrated in Wellington's Gold Awards for business enterprise and excellence needed to be heard by the whole region.

"It was clear that there were statistical gaps in our joint knowledge of what skills need to be replaced by immigration or training. Some cities, such as Porirua, had tangible evidence, but we needed this to be region wide. A commitment was made to explore ways in which a broader range of regional statistics might add to knowledge of development processes.

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