Key’s causing of capital introspection is probably good for us

As much as Prime Minister John Key has attempted to water down his ‘Wellington is dying’ aside, at the very least it has provided a good opportunity for some capital introspection.

One thing Key might be doing is confusing busyness with business – and on that count with its larger population and vastly improved motorway network, well Auckland’s way ahead.

But looking under the bonnet of commerce, while Wellington can always do better, here’s a few facts John.

(Disclaimer: some of these are pretty hair-splitting in nature, but nevertheless!)

  • Wellington has the most NZ companies in the Deloitte Asia Fast 500 (Wellington 17, Auckland 16)
  • In 2012 Wellington had four new additions to the TIN 100 (Wedgelock, Fraser Engineering, Xero, Catalyst), versus Auckland with three and Christchurch two (Source; TIN 100)
  • Companies based in Wellington generate as much revenue as the entire South Island and have a slightly better revenue per population than Auckland (Source; TIN 100)
  • In 2012 the Wellington region ranked first in the country for business growth (Source: BERL Regional Rankings 2012)
  • Information media and telecommunications was the largest industry in Wellington in 2012, accounting for 9.9% of total GDP. The second largest industry was public administration and safety (9.5%) followed by financial and insurance services (7.6%). (Source: Infometrics, Wellington Region annual economic profile)
  • In 2011/12 the Wellington food and beverage sector grew at almost twice the national rate (growth of 4.2% compared with national growth of 2.1%). (Source: Infometrics, Wellington Region annual economic profile)
  • In 2011/12 Wellington’s screen and digital output grew by 2.2% compared with national growth of 1.2% (Source: Infometrics, Wellington Region annual economic profile)
  • Wellington outperforms all regions on GDP per employee, showing significantly higher output per employee – at $78,719 compared with a weighted average of $64,898. (Source: Infometrics, Wellington Region annual economic profile)
  • In 2012 the Wellington region ranked 4th in the country for resident population growth (Source: BERL Regional Rankings 2012)

And finally – Lonely Planet Best in Travel – 4th best destination worldwide

The main point is, supported by facts, that Wellington’s alive and kicking.

We, as in Wellingtonians and non-Aucklanders should be careful to avoid too much navel-gazing and taking to heart of John Key’s off-the-cuff comments.

We want Auckland to be doing well of course.

We also want the rest of the country to be doing well.

It isn’t an either/or argument. It is an also.

If John Key really wanted to make a useful aside, it would be around the likes of ‘this is what we should be concentrating on to create more wealth for our country’.

But that would mean committing to a course of action; and that as we all know is not a modus operandi for any sort of political party in New Zealand.


About sticknz

sticK is by Peter Kerr, a writer for hire. I have a broad science and technology background and interest, with an original degree in agricultural science. My writing speciality is making the complex understandable. I am available for outside consultancy work, and for general discussions of converting a good idea into something positive
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One Response to Key’s causing of capital introspection is probably good for us

  1. David Miller says:

    Patrick Smellie also recently made some strong points about the poor performance of the Wellington regional economy in the “DomPost”. However he and other commentators have missed one important statistic in the “Regional Economic Activity Report” (2013) released by the government recently.

    Wellington region has the highest proportion of high growth enterprises per thousand enterprises of any region in New Zealand, followed by Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Nelson.

    It is surely worthy of analysis (e.g. by MBIE, NZTE and Grow Wellington) to evaluate this further. Why is the high proportion of high growth enterprises not translating into broader economic gains? Are the high growth enterprises all small start-ups with minimal economic multiplier effects or low added value per employee? Are they high growth enterprises failing, moving to Auckland or being transferred offshore? Or are they businesses that will in time create a much higher level of economic dynamism in the Wellington Region? The answers to these questions should shape the way in which resources to assist and promote economic development are allocated in our region.

    My suspicion is that many of them are ICT businesses or other types of firms with a strong base in technology.

    For the last three years, a small group of people have been promoting the Hutt Valley in particular, but increasingly incorporating the wider Wellington region, as “Technology Valley” (see ). A key element of the initiative is that to the maximum extent possible, Wellington businesses should build their core competencies upon deep linkages with research and development organisations which are numerous in the region. These include Callaghan Innovation, Victoria and Massey Universities, GNS Science, NIWA, ESR, BRANZ, CRL Energy and WelTec – especially WelTec’s Centre for Smart Product.

    Regions internationally that build such an economic base are more resistant to economic downturns, redundancies and loss of businesses to other regions and countries. On the contrary, they are often magnets to high technology firms, are able to offer more highly paying positions and to underpin vibrant and attractive lifestyles and communities.
    This is the direction Wellington Region and its constituent City Councils need to head.

    David Miller
    Vantage Consulting Group
    Level 6, Munro Benge Building, 104 The Terrace
    PO Box 5531, Wellington, New Zealand 6145
    Phone: +64 4 473 8148 Mobile: 0274 844 258 Fax: +64 4 472 9253
    Skype: david.gordon.miller

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