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Growing Beyond Growth – Rethinking Regional Development

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Growing Beyond Growth – Rethinking Regional Development

Today we’re calling on the Government to drastically rethink its sole focus on economic growth in the regions. Oncoming population decline in many of our regions over the next 30 years means we need to switch to a “smart growth and smart decline” approach. Maxim Institute CEO Alex Penk says, “The regional development goals in the Government’s Business Growth Agenda need a reality check, changing the focus from 'growth everywhere, for everyone' to goals that acknowledge and plan for the reality of demographic change that is already on its way.”

With the release of our new report, Growing Beyond Growth: Rethinking the goals of regional development in New Zealand, by researcher Julian Wood, we’re suggesting three regional development “re-thinks” that are necessary to encourage smart growth in the regions, and allow regions to plan together for the long-term demographic shifts that we can see on the horizon.

“Over the next 30 years, New Zealand will see population decline in many regions that will pose major challenges to growth in places across the country. This represents a disruption on the scale of the 1980s reforms. We have an opportunity now to avoid the same kind of social and economic upheaval by helping communities to respond to what will be a reality in ten election cycles,” says Alex Penk.

“We want to see the Government offer a coherent vision for regional development. Local governments and voters need well-explained, transparent, and prioritised goals that explain the reasoning and expectations behind central and local government spending,” says Alex. “This will allow regional players to hold central government to account for how it’s spending money, preventing politically targeted spending that is all too common in the regions.”


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