Natural resources at heart of regional economies

The importance of the natural resources sector to New Zealand’s regional economies is highlighted in the 2014 Regional Economic Activity Report, released by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

The report, produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, brings together comprehensive economic data on New Zealand’s 16 regions in one place. It also identifies specific initiatives under way in each region through the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. It is the second report in an annual series.

“The 2014 Regional Economic Activity Report highlights the diversity of our regions, with each making a different contribution to the national economy,” Mr Joyce says. “It also shows examples of both larger urban centres and smaller rural economies that are doing well.

“The report shows that the natural resource industries are the foundation for economic activity in most of our regional economies. What is clear is that policymakers at all levels need to be careful about policy changes that would hurt these sectors and impact on jobs and growth in regional New Zealand.

This is a very deliberate shot across the bows of opposition parties which are anti-farming, anti-resource extraction and anti-development.

“Over the last decade, agricultural regions have benefited from rising commodity prices for dairy products and, more recently, meat. However, signs of recovery from the Global Financial Crisis are obvious across the board, with employment numbers increasing in all regions over the last year.

“The report highlights the strengths and challenges each region faces and the opportunities they have to further contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. It is a useful tool to support planning at all levels and I expect it to encourage public debate about how each region can be more successful.”

This year’s Regional Economic Activity Report includes for the first time the official measure of regional gross domestic product, more comprehensive figures on employment and incomes, and new sections on population and Māori economic development.

To complement the report, an interactive website has been developed that contains information on 66 sub-regional areas. This finer detail is available online or can be accessed on the go, through a download for tablets.

To further support economic growth, the Government is also working with local stakeholders on a series of more in-depth studies on the East Coast, Northland, Manawatu-Wanganui and Bay of Plenty regions. These will provide a more detailed assessment of the particular strengths and challenges that these regions face and how their economies can be developed.

“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth and investment,” says Mr Joyce. “For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need all of our regions to achieve to their potential.

“Each region has advantages which it can build upon and diversify from. The problem is not a lack of opportunities – it’s how we continue to do better at creating wealth and jobs from the opportunities we have.”

You can access the full report here.

The housing crisis is one of the issues de jour although it isn’t a problem in most of the country.

Recognising the strengths of the regions and realising their potential would bring economic and social benefits for them and could take some of the pressure off housing demand and other population pressures in Auckland and Christchurch.

10 Responses to Natural resources at heart of regional economies

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    The difficulty with this Government is that they are taking an autocratic and centralized approach to regional development and not giving regions credit for being able to recognise regional opportunities. Southland is leading the way with future development planning but is often hamstrung by the lack of vision from above.

    Key Projects in 2014-15 include:

    Support and promotion of Around the Mountains Cycle Trail

    Southland Futures: pathways into employment in agriculture for young people as part of wider work on workforce development

    Establishing new international education partnerships with Chinese high schools

    Increasing visitor numbers, bed nights and spend in Southland and Fiordland

    Community and economic development in Ohai, Nightcaps, Tuatapere and Wyndham

    Continuing to lead, support and help develop events in Southland and Fiordland and analyse event economic impact study.

    Continue development of high-value oat industry project and further diversification of Southland economy


  2. TraceyS says:

    So a carbon tax is a “visionary” way to promote regional development?

    How much development goes on in the regions without the emission of CO2 Dave?

    1% company tax cut only helps if you’re making profits. Many developments don’t in the early years.

    Hurt them at start-up, yeah that’s visionary!


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    The carbon tax will encourage research and investment to low carbon sustainable industries and encourage current industries to adapt. Venture Southland is already doing valuable work in R&D around capturing methane from dairy ponds and turning it into bio-energy. I think it is bizarre that there seems to be objections to the priorities that VS listed and yet I would have thought all had merit and we definitely need to shift our reliance on exporting milk powder and logs.


  4. TraceyS says:

    Even low-carbon developments will rely on other so-called ‘unsustainable’ industries in their development phase, often heavily. Take wind farm developments for example. Carbon tax will make them more expensive to develop.

    If you’re determined enough to get something done, however, it will happen even without light being shone on it by the government.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    “If you’re determined enough to get something done, however, it will happen even without light being shone on it by the government.”

    This government is currently subsidising dairy expansion (irrigation schemes and keeping farming out of the ETS) and the oil industry. It would be far better to give the same incentives to more sustainable industries and fund R&D at the same level as our competitors. Getting down the price of electricity and managing the value of our dollar would also help.


  6. Ray says:

    “The carbon tax will encourage research and investment”
    That sounds like we can “Tax our Way into Prosperity .”
    Where exactly has that worked?
    Of course the greens economic policy includes the mantra…
    “We can print our way into prosperity”
    Both wacky.


  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, remember the tax is only on pollution and gets paid out again as tax cuts to the rest of us.


  8. willdwan says:

    No Dave, it is just stealing from hard working people, and none of your lies can ever justify it. Utterly disgusting, you should be ashamed!


  9. TraceyS says:

    “Ray, remember the tax is only on pollution and gets paid out again as tax cuts to the rest of us”

    And what will the rest of us do with that extra money Dave?

    We will be able to afford more petrol in our cars and more trips to Europe to visit family.

    Oh, now I see why getting the value of the dollar down is also a Green priority!

    Ultimately, this is all about controlling people’s spending.


  10. Ray says:

    “remember the tax is only on pollution”
    This is where your argument is lost on me and most rational people.
    You use this deception and downright lie to perpetuate your fairy tale.
    CO2 is not a pollutant, but a trace gas essential for all life.


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