Lifestyle the main draw card for small regions

During my time at Waikato University in the early 2000s I almost majored in Geography, before changing focus to Economics.  At that time, there was a lot of concern about “urban sprawl” and the fact that prime agricultural land was being gobbled up by development.  Lifestyle blocks were perhaps the biggest concern.  Some of the academic staff seemed to think that all the farmland within 30 minutes’ drive of Hamilton was destined to be carved up for lawns and gardens.

Handbrake released for regional tourism operators

The handbrake has been lifted for tourism operators in regional New Zealand, after years of underperformance following the Global Financial Crisis.  Data from Statistics New Zealand shows that guest nights in2014 grew in 48 of New Zealand’s 66 territorial authorities (excluding Chatham Islands), adding to evidence from Infometrics’ regional GDP database that 50 territorial authorities had positive growth in tourism GDP over the March 2014 year.

Commuters and remote workers can contribute to economic revival of towns

Each morning the train station in the small Wairarapa townof Carterton is packed with commuters who do the long trek into Wellington.  Likeme, these people have each balanced up the pros of living far out of townagainst the costs.  The journey takes an hour and a half so the costs areclearly significant.  But we each weigh these costs against the benefits of themore pleasant climate, affordable housing and the opportunities of living on alifestyle block.

Changing sources of local government revenue

There are some legitimate reasons for exploring alternative methods for raising local government revenue, but it is important that the analysis does not confound two separate issues: how much funding should be raised and what methods should be used for raising these funds. Ultimately the issue about funding levels is really about spending levels; the alternative to taxing more is always to spend less.

How unequal are our regions?

Over the past year we have heard much about regional inequality, with the term "Zombie town" popping up every few weeks in the media. The debate has contributed to the perception of growing, prospering cities and declining rural areas. This article compares New Zealand’s regional income inequality with that of other countries around the world.

Getting regional facilities and services right

Wellington City Council has recently approved the construction of a 1,200-seat convention centre in Wellington, which the Council will lease on a long-term basis from the developer at a cost of $4m per year. The aspect of this deal that has unsettled residents and ratepayers is the projection that revenue from the convention centre is only expected to average $2m per year, leaving a $2m shortfall.  The fact that the Council is embarking on this project knowing, ahead of time, that it will be a loss-making venture, provides an obvious reason as to why we haven’t seen private sector investment in this space in the past, and has led some people to question the business acumen of the Council.