Wellington Economic Strategy gets Go-ahead

9 December 2011

An ambitious plan to expand and diversify Wellington's economy to enable thousands of new jobs to be created was yesterday given unanimous approval by the Mayor and City Councillors.

The strategy sets a course for Wellington to increase exports by $500 million a year and grow its per capita GDP 10 percent by 2021 (an average annual growth rate of 3.25 percent).

The city's economic blueprint for the next 10 years also aims to introduce long-haul flights from Wellington to Asia by 2013, create 10,000 new jobs by 2015 and double from 25 to 50 the number of new projects involving direct foreign investment by 2021.

The strategy focuses on four main areas:

  • Destination Wellington - clearly defining and promoting Wellington's competitive advantage and better communicating the city's strengths internationally - to tourists, expats, international students, migrants, businesses and investors.
  • The smart capital - creating a business environment where innovative, creative and knowledge-intensive firms can flourish and access the resources they need to grow and where tertiary and research institutions work closely with the business community.
  • The connected capital - strengthening international business and trade connections, improving infrastructure that enhances the economy and supporting good transport options between the suburbs and central business district.
  • Open for business - foster an efficient and affordable business environment in the city and protect and enhance the central city's role as the economic engine room of the region.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the strategy is the Council's response to global economic challenges, central government's increased focus on Auckland and Christchurch and the downsizing of the public sector in the capital.

"This is about attracting and retaining talent and growing investment and creating jobs," the Mayor says. "Wellington is a great place to live and run business but not everyone knows that in government, New Zealand and overseas.

"Wellington has all the attributes it needs to grow a creative, digital and knowledge-intensive economy - we just need to tell our story to the world.

"The focus on the cultural, education and weightless economy can increase per capita GDP simultaneously with social, cultural and environmental benefits."

The Council's Economy Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, says the strategy is about developing a more sustainable, diverse economy for Wellington.

"We need some game changing initiatives to set Wellington on a positive growth path in the face of challenging economic conditions," says Cr Coughlan.

"Long-haul direct flights to Asia, an aggressive marketing campaign to promote Wellington as a destination for business investment, a stronger focus on retaining businesses that are already here and investing in infrastructure and amenities are all essential if we are to drive our economy forward.

"Wellington has a key role to play in the growth of the New Zealand economy - we are open for business and must leverage every opportunity to achieve our vision of 10,000 new jobs."