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Growing urban–rural divide demands urgency

Growing urban–rural divide demands urgency

The author of a book that has sparked a national debate about the urban–rural divide says the growing gap between New Zealand’s regions is set to accelerate – unless we take urgent action.

High profile economist Shamubeel Eaqub is speaking about regional economic growth at the Local Government New Zealand conference in Nelson today.

His new book, Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in New Zealand, describes how many local economies are faced with grave decline while only a few are advancing.

The book is part of a series of short books published by Bridget Williams Books.

In Growing Apart, Eaqub urges leaders across central and local government to agree on goals, barriers and policies, working alongside communities, businesses and iwi.

‘We need committed politicians and officials across central and local government.’

‘If we rank our regions internationally, Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury are comparable to France, Finland and Saudi Arabia respectively. But the smaller regions look like Timor-Leste (Northland), Greece (Manawatu-Whanganui and Gisborne) or other emerging economies such as Cyprus and the Seychelles.’

Eaqub warns that stifling growth in high-performing regions like Auckland is not the answer.

‘If we stifle growth in Auckland, it won’t turn up in Northland – it will turn up in Sydney or Singapore. For stagnating economies we need to build on their capabilities and provide help where there is a credible chance that the cost of investments will be more than repaid by future benefits.’

About the author
Shamubeel Eaqub (CFA) is a Principal Economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. His focus is in analytical frameworks to aid economic forecasting, commentary and incisive research into topical areas of economics.

About BWB Texts
BWB Texts are short books on big subjects. Published as snappy Penguin-style paperbacks and DRM-free e-books, this new series unlocks exciting opportunities for New Zealand non-fiction. Many more BWB Texts are scheduled for release through 2014 and beyond.

For more information about BWB Texts please visit our website.

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