Wellington’s latest report card - same numbers, but a different story

Independent data on the state of the city’s economic health is a far cry from Wellington City Council’s PR spin, says the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

The quarterly data, prepared by Infometrics, provides key information on the major economic indicators for the city and region.

The report summary itself states that: “Wellington’s economic growth cooled in the final quarter of 2017. Infometrics’ provisional estimate for GDP showed growth in the city of 2.1% in the December 2017 year, down from 3.6% the year before. Wellington’s 2017 growth figure was also below the national average of 2.8%.”

The report goes on to outline other concerning indicators, that the “Consumer-related measures such as retail sales have been a little sluggish. Tourism expenditure growth of 3.0% also underperformed the national average, as did guest nights in commercial accommodation,” and that “Wellington’s housing market has also slowed.”

However, of real concern is the current supply of habitable office space. As the report states “space shortages have re-emerged. This could become a serious issue if it constrains the ability of new or expanding businesses to operate efficiently.”

John Milford, Chief Executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, says “Unlike Council’s claim that the city is in ‘good heart’ and that the economy is ‘healthy’ the response ought to have been more tempered.

“When you actually delve into the detail, we fall short of the national average, only ‘better’ on four of the 11 key indicators, and compared to the Wellington region’s performance the city falls short on that as well. The indicators we’re doing better on? Greater traffic flows, residential consents, commercial vehicle registrations and a drop in numbers of people on an unemployment benefit.

“In order to do better we need to be taking a realistic look at the facts. It’s not a doomsday story, but we’ve got to be focused on the things that will address our comparative mediocre performance, through strategic investment that will drive growth, have a good return, and makes it easier for business to do business.

“Let’s Get Welly Moving is one of a number of examples where we have a serious infrastructure deficit, the time for talking is up. Let’s get it moving and we’ll get Wellington City moving.”

For more information contact John Milford 027 580 3064