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Report points way for Wellington region

16 December 2004

Successful Cities Report points way for Wellington region

A report prepared by Melbourne-based Macroplan, specialists in macroeconomics and town planning, has found that the 'common features of successful cities are largely attributable to proactive and innovative local governments,' Wellington Regional Strategy Forum Chair, Murray McCaw said at a media briefing today.

The Macroplan report compared Wellington with four city regions with similar characteristics: Geneva, Copenhagen, Calgary and Dublin.

"I hope Macroplan's report will provoke a degree of public debate over the role and function of local government in working together to encourage sustainable growth for the region," said Murray McCaw.

"A key finding of the report is that successful cities (and regions) don't just 'happen.' They are the result of active and intelligent intervention by local governments."

Macroplan note that 'all successful cities assessed have undertaken comprehensive work on long term visions, introduced well researched economic development policies together with a strong commitment to innovative planning and social programs.'

The Wellington Regional Strategy provides a platform for developing a long term vision by encouraging the councils of the region to work together to develop agreed directions. The project has a long term outlook to the year 2050, with a more detailed focus of action and priority for the next 10 to 20 years.

"What the Successful Cities Report highlights is the relationship between population growth and business attraction. We need people to see the region as an attractive destination to come and live and we need businesses to be attracted here because there is a skilled workforce available.

Wellington's forecast future population growth and future economic growth rates are challenges, not obstacles, to developing an internationally competitive and successful region," said Murray McCaw.

"Of much more importance in determining the success of the Wellington region to fund key services, infrastructure and community facilities is growth in GDP per capita."

Common features of a successful city are:

* Increases in per capita GDP * An economy with a diverse industry mix, low business costs and opportunities for new businesses * Good quality and affordable health and education services * Affordable housing for low and middle income earners * Availability of recreational and sporting activities * Community interaction and spirit of volunteering * Good quality air and drinking water * Growth in family incomes and low poverty levels * A high level of social cohesion and safety

Macroplan identified successful cities by using internationally recognised surveys: the EIU World's Most Livable Survey and the Mercer Quality of Living Report. They then further refined their search by looking for cities with populations of less than two million, with similar characteristics in terms of population and economic growth.

A triple bottom line approach - ie economic, social and environmental indicators - was used to assess the successful cities used in the reports and this methodology will be used to measure the Wellington region's progress.


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