Govt eyes Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton nexus

The Government says it is willing to spend over $100,000 to probe how linkages with Hamilton and Tauranga could boost the economic performance of Auckland.

"We need to understand the main economic linkages between Auckland and other growth city-regions nearby and the impact of these connections on the economic structure of each city-region," the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) said today, in a call for tenders for the research.

It is commissioning research, with the Transport Ministry, the Labour Department, and Environment Ministry to test the emergence of a "city system" between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga (AHT). They are, respectively, New Zealand's first, fourth and fifth largest urban areas (by population) and existing linkages help Auckland to deliver over a third of New Zealand's GDP.

By 2031, the Auckland/Waikato/Bay of Plenty "triangle" is expected to have grown by 34 percent.

Recent research has already shown links between economic development in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, but little has been published apart from work on freight flows and transport infrastructure.

Key points the MED wants to understand include the main economic connections between the cities, the impact on them of growth of the city system, and how the productivity of the AHT system could be improved.

The project grew out of the Labour administration's Government Urban and Economic Development Office (GUEDO), aimed at improving the focus on Auckland-related policy development.

Now the officials want to identify labour market, transport and corporate links, and to analyse the economic structure of each individual city, and supply chains and economic performance.

They also want to pin down the most economically "productive" connections between the cities, the expected impacts of greater flows of people and goods between these city-regions, and where growth will be centred.

Ways to boost productivity of the AHT city network without creating adverse social and environmental impacts are also being sought.

"Analysis of the likely impact of the continued growth of this network on the city-regions within it and New Zealand's economic geography as a whole will provide useful insights for possible further work on other city-region networks," the ministry said today. The research is expected to be completed by September 30.

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