Last week I attended a Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) seminar on Regional Economic Development. LGNZ had invited some prominent speakers including Shamubeel Eaqub,  principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Development and author of the recently published book Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in New Zealand. The other speakers, both MPs with portfolios relating to the discussion topics were: National Minister Hon Steven Joyce and Wellington Central Labour MP Grant Robertson.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule opened the session, followed by Shamubeel leading the discussion on the current situation and future prospects of regional economic development around New Zealand and the gaps that are developing. The presentations given by both members of parliament covered some interesting issues while holding a heavy party election undertone. This was followed up during the lively question and answer session with Steven Joyce and Grant Roberton.

The questions were varied and often close to home for the speakers, covering the regional and economic progress in areas around the country, immigration issues and skills training for New Zealand youths entering the workforce. A full recording of the seminar can be found here on the LGNZ website.

The topic of regional economic development is an important and complex issue, one which the Institute has has been exploring, especially during this year’s TalentNZ Tour. We would like to thank LGNZ for hosting such an engaging and timely discussion, and look forward to future events and discussions on the topic.

Hon Steven Joyce Portfolios: Economic Development, Science and Innovation, Small Business and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.

Grant Robertson Portfolios: Spokesperson for Economic Development, Employment Skills and Training and Arts, Culture and Heritage