Public transport use in key urban centres

The 2013 census showed that the proportion of those travelling to work via bus or train was 5.7%,[1] up from 5.2% at the 2006 census.  Public transport is a significantly more prominent travel option in regions with a high enough population density to support its use. This article will focus on the key aspects of public transport growth in the three key urban centres of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and looks at where further linkages could be developed to provide better connections between work and home.

Has Jetstar peaked already?

Qantas’s recently released financial results show that Jetstar lost market share to Air New Zealand over the closing stages of 2013. Despite this recent wobble, Jetstar’s rapid growth over the past few years has significantly helped improve regional air connectivity in New Zealand and is vital for maintaining competitive domestic air travel prices.

Why is Fonterra losing grip of market share in the dairy industry?

Fonterra’s share of the New Zealand dairy market has fallensubstantially over recent years, driven down by a rapidly expanding competitivefringe of smaller export-orientated dairy firms.  This article examines how theindustrial structure of the New Zealand dairy industry has evolved over thepast decade and identifies reasons why changes have occurred.

Decomposing domestic trends in road, rail, and sea transportation

This article covers trends in the domestic transportation offreight over recent years.  The majority of freight in New Zealand is carriedby road with smaller, but not insignificant, quantities carried via rail andcoastal shipping.  According to the Ministry of Transport’s 2008 NationalFreight Demands Study, about 70% of freight tonne-kilometres were shifted byroad, while the remainder of freight was carried approximately equally by railand coastal shipping.

Understanding regional connectivity in the airline market

Jetstar ‘s entry into the New Zealand domestic market inJune 2009 and its ensuing competition with Air New Zealand on main-trunk routeshas marked the beginning of another era of cut-price domestic travel.  Thisarticle examines how much market share Jetstar has captured over theintervening years and also explains why improving regional air connectivity isgood for the New Zealand economy.

Economic diversification – at what cost?

Two events over the last few weeks have highlighted the risks of a region, or the country as a whole, becoming highly exposed to asingle industry, product type, employer, or trading partner.  Firstly,Fonterra’s botulism scare focused attention on the fact that the company’sdairy exports make up almost a quarter of New Zealand’s export earnings. China’s strong reaction to Fonterra’s food safety issues was also a sharpreminder that the country now takes about 25% of our dairy exports.

What will become of Tiwai’s workers?

The eventual closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is an inevitability that needs to be embraced. Although the smelter is said to produce some of the world’s purest aluminium, the reality is that aluminium buyers aren’t prepared to pay enough of a premium for Tiwai’s product to ensure the smelter’s long-term survival. With this harsh reality in mind, this article considers the plight of the 800 odd employees who will face the prospect of lower incomes and the cost of searching for new jobs when shutdown day eventually comes.

The bluff from Bluff

There has been a lot written recently about the interaction between the upcoming public share offer for Mighty River Power and the blackmail tactics of Rio Tinto to use this event as a means of extracting a further subsidy from our national government. I wish to focus here on a couple of the underlying economic issues involved here: the economic purpose of privatisation programmes and the economic impact of a closure of the Tiwai Point Smelter.

Local government for better or worse

The Government released this week its template for improving the performance of local government: Better Local Government. This document rightly recognises the importance of local government performance for overall economic performance, and in general offers a sound set of policy prescriptions that will have a positive influence on local government performance. However, the policy proposals are not uniformly positive. In particular the proposed new definition of the purpose of local government could potentially be too narrow and the so-called provisions to strengthen council governance look positively barmy.