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Reports Contribute to Long Term Regional Vision

16 December 2004

WRS Reports Contribute to Long Term Regional Vision

A series of papers presented to the Wellington Regional Strategy Forum today provide a strong platform from which to develop a long term vision for the region and a framework for sustainable economic growth, said Wellington Regional Forum Chair Murray McCaw.

"The meeting today is another step in a two year process to define a vision and way forward for the Wellington region," said Murray McCaw.

The Wellington Regional Strategy (WRS) is a joint project of the councils of the Wellington metropolitan region, and Positively Wellington Business, who are working together to build an internationally competitive Wellington by developing and implementing a vision and an integrated framework to achieve sustainable growth of the Wellington region.

"Taken together, the reports confirm that the Wellington region faces a number of challenges as well as huge opportunities.

"For example, the paper on Economic Futures (page 21) notes that the Wellington region "stands out internationally as a place that specialises in creativity, [which] "represents a genuine competitive advantage"," said Murray McCaw.

A paper on Demographic Issues notes that while population growth is likely to be moderate over the next 20 years, the growth in numbers of households will be much greater.

"Population growth, however, is not necessarily a driver of economic growth - as areas like Tauranga have been finding to their cost," Murray McCaw said.

Some of the key points identified in reports include:
* Population growth has been 10 per cent higher than population projections used for forward planning in the region
* While population projections show the Wellington region not growing at the national rate, household numbers will increase at a greater rate than the average
* While the Wellington region enjoys the second highest medium household income at $47,000, there is considerable disparity in incomes across the region * There is evidence that congestion problems are worsening, which limits the ability of the Wellington Region to act as a transport hub
* The Wellington Region stands out as a place that specialises in creativity
* The region has a large high income employment base, which attracts a wide cross-section of skilled people.

A paper by Delaney and Associates in Canberra, called Global Trends and Critical Uncertainties, noted a number of factors that could impact on the Wellington Region's future that included everything from ageing populations and decreasing household sizes, to the likelihood of a pandemic, the impact of nanotechnology, to the emergence of China and monetary union with Australia.

"One of the key objectives of the Wellington Regional Strategy is to provide the region with a strong regional voice. This is something that central government has said it wants regions to do if they are seeking funding to address major infrastructural issues."

The papers presented to the Forum, include:

1. Regional Stocktake A 115 page document listing regional attributes and issues important to the strategy. It is a collation of all existing data and information into one document

2. Economic Futures An analysis of trends, strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities facing the Wellington region over the next 20 years. 3. Global Megatrends and critical uncertainties Report by Delaney & Associates that looks at a number of external events and global trends with the potential to impact on the Wellington Region.
4. Demographic Issues Impacting on the Region's Growth Looking at demographic trends and household composition and type out to 2051. 5. Successful cities A report into the attributes of successful cities and surrounding regions
6. Interim regional community outcomes A review of the community outcomes of each constituent council


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