The New Zealand Initiative and Local Government New Zealand have suggested regional input into policy reforms through special economic zones to encourage solutions that meet the needs of a specific region.
“Success of regional projects supported by Government and local innovative funding policies could help advance regional economic demand,” Lester says.
Wellington city’s 10 year plan in includes provision for $880 million in city investments including support for lengthening the Wellington International Airport runway to improve accessibility to the region.
“Our Council has adopted an ‘invest to grow’ approach and many of those projects are designed to meet specific regional needs that promote growth,” Lester says.
“We would welcome regional support and equally we would be supportive of proposals by other regions to encourage growth across New Zealand.”
The Deputy Mayor cited housing loan value ratio restrictions, which impact on first home purchases across New Zealand’s territorial authorities, as an example where greater flexibility would benefit a specific territorial authority.
“This policy is a clear example of a restriction put in place to dampen down Auckland’s housing market,” he says. “A city with innovative policies should be allowed to pursue those policies and be rewarded if they are successful.”
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has welcomed the proposal.
“In principle, this idea has merit and I look forward to examining the practicalities of special economic zones,” she says.