Mobilising the Regions to drive economic growth and social connectivity

21 Jul 2015

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule highlighted the important need to ensure a shared national approach to regional development and growth across New Zealand and the critical role transport infrastructure plays at the 2015 LGNZ conference in Rotorua today.

LGNZ’s new transport study, Mobilising the Regions, highlights the economic and social impact of strategic transport decisions nationally and in our regions and the direct link between regional development, national prosperity, social well-being and cohesiveness.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says that decisions affecting New Zealand should be made with full consideration of their regional impact.

“Nearly 40 per cent of New Zealand’s total GDP is located in our regions.  This means that if New Zealand’s regions are doing well, so is New Zealand,” says Mr Yule.

“Quite simply, local, regional and national objectives should be shared and linked.”

Local government, like central government has a huge role to play achieve strong regions throughout New Zealand.

“One of LGNZ’s major strategic policy priorities is for a shared national approach to regional development and growth across New Zealand. This is critical to lift economic growth over the next decade.  And that means investment in all our regions and all our communities,” says Mr Yule.

Mr Yule says the report, which is due to be released next month, has important implications for New Zealand’s economic outcomes and social connectivity.

“The study will provide the foundation for a better understanding of the importance all modes of our transport network and the impact on regional economic development.  We see that an ‘all of New Zealand’ approach is needed to strengthen both our communities and our economic potential as a country,” Mr Yule says.

The study’s earlier findings show:

  1. A fit-for-purpose transport network is essential for regional economic growth - and social cohesion.  A regular, reliable transport service requires good road linkages, a suitable rail network, an airline that services regional hubs, and ports that connect local communities and producers to markets in other locations.
  2. Regional transport decision-making should be linked to consistent criteria across regions and across transport modes.  Different modes of transport have different policy drivers.  For example, commercial decisions for air, central and local government policy for roads and combined commercial and government policy for ports.
  3. These decisions should be joined-up to national and regional economic and social objectives.

LGNZ says the study is critical given the recent changes in regional air travel and discussion on the future of rail, and this raises important questions about the resilience of the transport links that connect our regional populations and economies.”

“We need an integrated transport policy that supports economic growth and social connectivity for the people in New Zealand’s regions.”

“Local input into national transport policy decisions is imperative to the success of our regional economies.”

The final report, Mobilising the Regions is due to be released in August.