Thriving regions debunks “zombie towns” perception of provincial NZ

In a response to an editorial calling his city of Whanganui a “zombie town”, Mark Ward – chief executive of Whanganui & Partners, the city’s economic development agency – has cited statistics to prove that this regional city is actually thriving.

Mr. Ward states that Whanganui’s GDP, house prices and median incomes are growing at rates faster than the New Zealand average. More people have also been lifted out of the benefit, with Jobseeker rates dropping faster than they are nationally.

But that trend is not exclusive to Whanganui alone, the chief executive states that regional New Zealand is actually “flying high” right now. ASB’s latest Regional Economic Scoreboard ranks Hawke’s Bay as the fastest-growing economy, followed by Manawatu-Whanganui.

In comparison, traditional economic hotspots like Wellington (4th) and Auckland (7th) are well behind.

These encouraging statistics are a testament of the work being done by New Zealand First, who made the revival of regional New Zealand its priority during the last election campaign.

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