Local Economic Development in Porirua City New Zealand Essay

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Local Economic Development in Porirua City, New Zealand

Profile of Porirua City.

Social characteristics. The results of the 2006 Census show that the total population of Porirua City is around 48,500 people (slightly more females than males), representing a modest increase (2.5%) from the 2001 Census. This population rate ranks Porirua City as 21st in size compared to 73 other districts in New Zealand and represents 1.2% of the country's total population.

The city is also home to slightly more than 9,600 Maori residents, representing about 19.8% of Porirua City's population.

Porirua City has a modern municipal infrastructure, including the Te Rauparaha Arena, an Aquatic Centre, and the Pataka, one of the country's most important museums of contemporary Maori, Pacific and New Zealand art.

Porirua City has also been designated as a finalist in the three categories entered in the 2010 International Awards for Liveable Communities: (a) Whole of City; (b) Environmentally Sustainable Projects; and (c) Bursary Award.

Economic characteristics. Porirua City is well situated to take advantage of its unique economic characteristics to promote further local economic development initiatives. Following its official incorporation as a city in October 1965, a number of major companies located facilities in the Porirua City area, including the installation of a factory early on by General Electric Company in 1965, followed by Kodak, Chubb, Ashley Wallpaper, and W.R. Grace.

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Throughout its recent history, though, the main employer in Porirua City has been the assembly plant of Todd Motors, subsequently renamed Mitsubishi Motors.

Although the city experienced a period of developmental stagnation in its central city during the period from the 1960s to 1990, the launching of the K-Mart Plaza in 1991 (currently known as North City Shopping Centre) began a period of revitalization continuing with the construction of covered walkways over older business areas in 1995 followed by the establishment of the Mega-Centre complex in late 1999.

Essay on Local Economic Development in Porirua City New Zealand Assignment

Today, the Porirua City Council emphasize that, "There are opportunities for business and investors including plenty of commercial land ripe for development as well as a diverse, stable workforce, easy access to the rest of the country by road (on State Highway 1) and rail and the benefit of being just 20 minutes from the Capital City."

At the local level, the number of businesses in Porirua City increased by 25% during the period from 1997 to 2002; all told, for the year ended December 2002, retail sales in Porirua City were estimated at $561 million, representing an increase of 6.7% over the same period in 2001. The Porirua region is currently comprised of 17 suburbs and one island (see colored dots adjacent Porirua City in Figure 1 below) as defined by the Porirua City Council. In addition, Porirua City also has two international sister cities, Blacktown, Australia and Nishio, Japan.

At the regional level, Porirua City is part of a larger regional area consisting of New Zealand's capital, Wellington, together with Hutt City and Upper Hutt as shown in Figure 1 below.

According to Toland and Yoong (2005), in New Zealand, "The term region generally defines a broad geographical area distinguished by similar features. A region generally refers to sub-units within a country, broadly equivalent to the state level in Australia and the United States, or a county in England."

Figure 1. Map showing Porirua City, New Zealand

Sources: http://www.poriruacity.com/go.mv-suburb_information and https://www.cia.gov / library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/maps/large/nz-map.gif

Environmental characteristics. As noted above, Porirua City is located just 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) north of Wellington City

and overlooks what the city's leaders describe as "a stunning harbour and includes 54 km of coastline. Equally as impressive are our rolling hills offering a rural lifestyle."

Recent local economic development initiatives. Some of the recent and ongoing economic development initiatives for Porirua City include the following:

1. Village Planning Programme. This is a partnership between Porirua City Council and its communities that is designed to "put communities in charge of developing a vision for their neighbourhoods and then partnering with Council to make it happen. This vision is brought together through community consultation and developed into Village Plans, which lay out the community's goals and aspirations for the future of their neighbourhood."

2. Titahi Bay Beach Reserves Plans and Projects. Work is underway with landscape concept plans having been completed and work scheduled to commence in October 2010.

3. Digital Porirua. Launched in early 2009, this initiative was developed based on guidance from representatives drawn from all sectors of Porirua City. The initiative's focus is "on growing and adding new capability to the network of Community Access Points, the Netpods in low decile schools, the community website www.ourporirua.com portal and the technical and learning support the Trust currently offers."

In addition, the New Zealand government has been actively engaged in implementing initiatives intended to promote economic development at the local level in recent years.

According to Gouldson and Roberts, "For 50 years, New Zealand developed under a mixed economy that was designed to promote not only economic development, but also social welfare. The mid-1980s saw the beginning of a program of wide-ranging reforms to central and local (regional, county and municipal) government that sought to promote decision-making at local levels."

The net effect of these initiatives has been to place an increasing amount of responsibility for economic development programs at the local level. The controlling legislation for local councils is contained in the Local Government Act in 1989 and the Resource Management Act in 1991 that set forth the statutory basis for local councils to address economic developmental initiatives.


Set of Priorities for Local Economic Development Initiatives

Given New Zealand's geographically isolated proximity to markets in North and South America, Europe and many parts of Asia, it is not surprising that many development initiatives have been focused on increasing commerce with the closest available trading partners. For instance, Toland and Yoong emphasize that in the case of New Zealand in particular, "Regions are different from nations in that they are more 'open.' A larger proportion of the region's economy depends on flows of imports from and exports to other regions."

Currently, New Zealand's major export partners are Australia, the United States, China, Japan and the United Kingdom as shown in Figure 2 below.

Table 1

New Zealand Major Export Partners

Figure 2. Percentage of Exports for New Zealand Major Export Partners

Source: World Factbook (2010) and Peters (2006)

The main exports to these countries were, in descending order of importance, dairy products, meat, wood and wood products, fish, and machinery.

(New Zealand, 2010).

As can be seen from Figure 2 above, the Pacific Islands represent a small but important part of New Zealand's current exports, and there is growing support for increased trade with regional partners in this area of the world. According to Peters (2006), "New Zealand seeks partnership with its Pacific neighbors as we confront the many and varied challenges within our region. Only with the consent of, and in full partnership with, regional governments can we hope to make an effective, positive and lasting impact in the region."

In other words, customized responses are the key to addressing the primary local economic developmental priorities of Porirua City rather than implementing a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

This is an important point given the enormous diversity that exists within and between the islands that comprise this area. For example, Colbert describes the Pacific Islands thusly: "Ten thousand islands -- a few large, most very small, many uninhabited -- are scattered over a vast oceanic expanse, stretching from the southern reaches of the Pacific to the Tropic of Cancer and covering 20 million square miles."

The Pacific Islands also represent a potential market of about 6,000,000 consumers for Porirua City's goods and services.

To date, though, the Pacific Islands have largely been omitted from economic development initiatives in the past, but these islands represent an enormous potential for Wellington in general and Porirua City in particular. According to Peters, "One aspect of the trade relationship that is often overlooked is the economic importance of the Pacific Islands to New Zealand. In 2005, they accounted for more than NZ$1 billion, over 3 per cent of [the country's] total merchandise exports, as well as contributing to its invisibles earnings such as in tourism and contracting."

Therefore, increasing trade with the Pacific Islands appears to represent a viable strategy for local economic developmental initiatives that is especially well suited for Porirua City based in large part on its Digital Porirua and the central government's ongoing Digital Strategy initiative (discussed further below). To this end, new opportunities for using information and communication technology, particularly the e-publishing industry, third-party provision of human resources and other outsourced functions, consultation services for wildlife and cultural heritage tourism and other online services appear to represent the most promising long-term strategic partnerships with companies in Australia and the Pacific Islands, industries in which first movers stand to gain a competitive advantage.


Approach to Meet These Priorities.

The first step in developing procedures for local economic development initiatives in Porirua City… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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