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Councillor says Wellington economy is in a good place

Wellington City Council Economic Development Portfolio leader Simon Marsh says he is encouraged by the way the city is tracking 18 months after the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

“Our economy has clearly grown in the last quarter, our unemployment rate continues to fall and the number of new residential building consents has grown. Wellington is in a good place,” he says.

The Quarterly Economic Monitor for Wellington City for the period ending March 2018 [attached] shows confidence is high in Wellington, with the economy growing by 2.7 percent. This growth increased the city’s GDP to $20.5 billion, with the report noting that the change of government and an improvement in public sector employment could be part of the reason why.

Wellington’s unemployment rate is down to 4.2 percent at the end of March 2018, compared to 4.7 percent for the previous quarter.

The city experienced a gain in permanent and long-term migration of 2,772 people in the year to March 2018, which is nearly double the 10-year average.

The effect of population growth can be seen in house price increases and rents going up, and also a 4.2 percent increase in traffic (against a 2 percent national increase).

“The good news is that people are voting for Wellington with their feet. We are a city that people want to live in,” says Cr Marsh.

Mayor Justin Lester says: “Given our geographical setting, as the population grows, it’s expected that traffic will grow and therefore congestion will also grow, but the Council is responding in a strategic way, particularly with Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

“Housing is at the top of our agenda, and the council will be discussing the Housing Strategy in June. Meanwhile, the market is responding to housing demand, with consents up 32 percent.”

WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker welcomed the positive growth indicators for the city and in particular the strong population growth. But he says it presents challenges that need to be well planned for and managed.

“Careful planning now can ensure those things that are important to Wellingtonians, and make us the world’s most liveable city, remain. Making the right transport choices through Let’s Get Wellington Moving are important as are decisions around housing and development in important civic assets that add to both liveability and vibrancy.”

The Quarterly Economic Monitor report was independently prepared by economic forecasting agency Infometrics.


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