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Wellington regional development a priority

Anderton says Wellington regional development a priority

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton said today that one of his priorities for the coming Parliamentary term will be to make progress on removing obstacles to the economic development of Wellington city and the surrounding region.

According to the most recently published National Bank Regional Trends Survey, published late last year, Wellington's annual average economic growth rate was a disappointing 1.3% in the September 2002 quarter, the weakest pace of year-on-year growth among the 14 regions of New Zealand.

Jim Anderton, who met today with Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, said he is confident the situation can be turned around because Wellington has all of the ingredients to do so.

"But clearly there are issues that must be addressed to further assist economic development.

“Transport network issues have to be fixed at the same time as programmes are advanced to assist the current exciting transition of the local economy which is increasingly being driven by emerging industries such as Information Technology and the creative art sectors," Jim Anderton said.

"Cities around the world are now competing hard to attract and keep the people and skills needed to sustain future economic activity. We need to ensure that central government agencies are doing their part to make sure New Zealand's capital city is one of the clear winners in that global contest," Jim Anderton said.

The Minister has asked officials from the Ministry of Economic Development and Industry New Zealand to report to him on Wellington's economic performance and outlook and to assess the impact and effectiveness of current central government infrastructure, business and development programmes in the region designed to encourage economic growth and job creation.

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