Innovation, Connection, Education to Drive Capital’s Future

30 April 2013

Today’s release of the Government’s Regional Economic Activity Report has confirmed Wellington’s economy is on the right track, with real opportunities for increased low-carbon prosperity ahead. The report collates a wide range of data across the country and notes each region has complementary strengths.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who attended this morning’s launch event hosted by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, said the report vindicated efforts by the Wellington City Council, other agencies and local businesses to modernise and diversify the economy.  

“The report shows Wellington has the greatest proportion of high-growth enterprises as part of our economy,” said the Mayor. “High-growth businesses indicate an innovation sector and Wellington does well in this area because of our highly skilled and educated workforce. There is real opportunity for education, business services companies and creative content producers to focus internationally.

“We have the highest proportion of people employed in knowledge intensive industries in the country and our average per capita income is high. We must also encourage apprenticeships and an inclusive approach so everybody can participate in the economy and society as a whole.”

“This report shows the capital can have optimism that our economy is growing in the areas that will really propel our Smart Capital forward. We need to be inspired by our homegrown success stories – like Weta Digital, Xero and Sidhe Interactive – and built more businesses like these in the high-growth, high-value, innovative sector.”

The report stated:

  • Wellington has a range of important national functions in line with its role as a capital city, including providing institutional connections with the rest of the world. It has developed strengths in related sectors such as information communications and technology, finance and insurance, and business services.
  • It also has a range of tertiary education and research institutions, including the new Callaghan Innovation and three existing Crown research institutes. As a consequence, Wellington has the highest proportion of people employed in knowledge-intensive services amongst all of New Zealand’s regions.

“As Rod Drury, CEO of Xero, recently said, we have real opportunities to be a truly Smart Capital, use our broadband and wi-fi to the full, and promote our compact capital with its excellent lifestyle.”

The report said that although regional employment growth for the past decade was just over one percent, the region already had the highest proportion of people in employment.

The Council’s Economic Portfolio Leader, Councillor Jo Coughlan, said the report was timely and confirmed that Wellington had a key role to play in growing the New Zealand economy, but this needed to be promoted.

“Through the City’s ‘Destination Wellington’ initiative we are highlighting the advantages of Wellington as a great place to do business.

“Wellington has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years to a digital economy. We are the IT capital of New Zealand and home to many of New Zealand’s high-tech and creative companies.

“We have a world class public sector, and a diverse economy. Wellington has great potential and an exciting story to tell.”

Mayor Wade-Brown added: "While this is a report that compares regional economies, Wellington City’s GDP growth at 2%, employment growth at 1.4% and population growth of 1.5% over the last decade are all higher than the Wellington region as a whole.”