It’s been over six weeks since the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, and one senses growing frustration from parts of the business community at the apparent lack of progress being made in returning life towards "normal". Most critically affected have been small firms with premises in the CBD cordon. Getting hold of essential files and documents to enable one’s business to keep going has not been straightforward.
Much has been made of the likelihood that Christchurch willsuffer a significant hit to its population in the aftermath of the earthquakein February. Good information on population movements within New Zealand isalmost non-existent, but Statistics NZ is currently monitoring re-enrolments ofschool students from Christchurch and surrounding areas following the quake. This article examines the initial trends, although it is too early to try anddraw conclusions about the implications for population growth in Christchurch.
Those of us that live in Wellington like to think of it as the creative and innovative hub of New Zealand with the highest qualified workforce and highest incomes. But it appears that Auckland can increasingly lay claim to that mantle.
Auckland and Wellington enjoy a healthy rivalry for the mantle as the arts and creative capital of New Zealand. The tussle is not trivial. Both cities recognize that a vibrant arts and creative community is not just a nice to have but is essential for growing their economies.
In many ways Auckland has epitomised New Zealand’s economic and social transformation since the economic reforms of the 1980s.It is big, bold and brash. It has gone for growth and achieved it. But thereis a slightly uncomfortable tinge to its style of growth.
The prospects for keeping down the growth of our unemployment queues have taken a turn for the worse. Late last year we were hoping that unemployment would only reach 6% at the depth of the current recession. A key factor in keeping the unemployment rate from blowing out was the assumption that Australia’s economy would keep chugging along and absorb much of our surplus labour. But with Australia’s prospects suddenly looking a lot less rosy we can no longer look to our biggest neighbour to alleviate our problem.
There are parallels between the struggles of the Southland economy and New Zealand’s struggles in an international context. Southland is isolated, its climate is challenging, its population and market is small, and agriculture is a big part of its economy. But through wise use of their resources and some smart choices, Southland has been able to turn itself around. As a nation we can learn from that.