Positively better than they say

Despite suggested perceptions of the Wellington economy, the region has a lot to feel positive about.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 23 APR 2013—Recent news that Wellington is perceived as ‘difficult to deal with’ by central Government is refuted by Upper Hutt City Council, who asks that residents of the region feel confident that they are part of a successful vibrant region.

There is a lot to feel good about when you are a part of the Wellington region,” says Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. “The region has been hit just as hard as any other by the economic turbulence of the global recession. What makes us so resilient has been our agility in these difficult times. This is reflected in areas of growth throughout the region.”

The report that sparked the debate about the relationship between central and local Government provides statistics about the economic performance of the Wellington region. The report, prepared by Infometrics, and offers comprehensive data and compares the regions performance against other comparative centres and previous year’s performance.

“It seems that Greater Wellington Regional Council has been too quick to release important data from this report out of context.” says Mayor Guppy. “While some of the statistics they have released may be relevant to issues most topical at this time (such as house prices, economic growth, and employment growth), without the correct context the economic stability of the entire region is undermined. Data showing a stagnating economy is only a reflection of worldwide trends. There have been significant shifts in our local economy as business and industry recover from the recession, and some sectors (like central Government) have contracted while others have expanded.”

Wellington has experienced significant growth in areas of media and telecommunications, screen and digital, clean technology and business services. All of these sectors are performing well above the national average. Manufacturing has grown by 8.1%, far above the national average of 2%; and our export growth is more than double the national average. Homes are becoming more affordable, and people are becoming more confident.

“Some of the statistics in this report have been released at the convenience of the Greater Wellington Regional Council.” says Mayor Guppy “This has provided an ill thought-out example of assumed impacts of the current local governance model across the region. If you can see beyond the propaganda of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, you will see a region that is evolving, adapting to a changing economy, and a resilient community of highly skilled and well rewarded employees.

The relationship that the Wellington community has with each of its local Councils ensures that their unique needs are met, in a way that a supercity simply cannot match. If central Government wants to liaise with one representative from the region I know we can be mature enough to implement a system to manage such relationships without the need to completely overhaul our governance structure. It is unrealistic to assume that amalgamation will transform the local economy. It seems the region is on track to recovery and that local Councils play an important role in supporting local business and industry in this recovery.”