The latest estimated resident population data for regions and districts published by Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ) in late October threw up a few surprises, not least that Auckland’s population is a lot lower than previously estimated. Indeed, we have been overestimating population in many of our larger urban centres and underestimating it in the smaller provincial districts.
Every time we have local elections there is lots of talk about the low levels of turnout, and rightly so. In 2016, turnout was up nationally to an unimpressive 42%. The 2019 preliminary results from Local Government NZ show a drop in national turnout to 41.4%. At a slightly more detailed level, “metro” council areas followed a similar zigzag of up in 2016 and down in 2019. Interestingly “provincial” and “rural” council areas showed an inverse zigzag, with decreased turnout in 2016 and increased turnout in 2019.
With local elections in full swing, there’s a greater focus on the direction that our councils are moving towards and how much is it going to cost. Wrapped up in these discussions is the the fact that right across New Zealand we need to address our infrastructure deficit after decades of neglect. Planning to address this deficit will not be easy, or cheap, but is critical to aiding growth and fixing our housing issues.
On 23 September StatsNZ released the first batch of Census 2018 data, which includes high-level national trends, population counts for local areas, and the number of electorates. Although it is great to finally have some 2018 Census data, the information available is still very high level.
Local councils are once again putting their thoughts towards their Long Term (10-year) Plans which need to be completed next year. Fundamental to their plans are reliable metrics on the size of their current and future population.
We know that Auckland is a big part of the country’s economy. In 2018 it had 35% of the population, 36% of the jobs, and accounted for 38% of GDP – up from 31%, 32% and 34% respectively in 2000. But just how big is that really?