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Region needs to realise growth potential

28 April 2005

Region needs to realise growth potential

The Wellington region has an abundance of “human capital” but to date this has not resulted in the region getting its share of economic growth. This was a key item of discussion at today’s forum meeting of the Wellington Regional Strategy – a grouping of the nine territorial authorities that make up the greater Wellington region.

Human capital refers to the size and skill of a region’s workforce. A report compiled by Wellington economists Infometrics noted that the region had strong human capital resources and that this resulted in higher wages. However, the region’s economy grew just 4.5% in the four years to March 2004, less than one third of the 15.1% national growth during the same period.

Independent Chairperson of the Wellington Regional Strategy, Murray McCaw said the Wellington region clearly had the people to achieve its growth objectives, but those skills need to be harnessed in the right way. “Human capital influences economic growth, but doesn’t guarantee it. We need to be sure we’re using the resource in the right way.”

The report made three main recommendations: promote a competitive environment with a focus on innovation and ensuring the burden of regulation falls evenly ensure the efficient operation of key local facilities and services that persuade businesses to operate in the region – for example transport and communication to facilitate networks, for example between researchers and the potential commercial users of the research

“We’ve got good people and strong R&D. The report demonstrates that if you link the two together, economic growth should follow,” said Mr McCaw.

The Infometrics report was based on an in-depth analysis of opinions from local business leaders and experts.

The Wellington Regional Strategy is a grouping of the nine territorial authorities that make up the greater Wellington region, including the Wairarapa. The Group is compiling a growth framework for the region with a focus on the next 10-20 years. Considerable analysis has been undertaken in the past six months. This information is being assimilated into a draft plan which will be available for public input from July.

ENDS

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