Friday, May 31, 2024

Professor Robert MacCulloch: Census 2023 reveals Wellington is the only city in NZ that shrunk

Census 2023 reveals Wellington is the only city in NZ that shrunk. Why drag the whole of NZ down by pouring money into its problems? Let it go.

Its official. Wellington's population shrunk between 2018 and 2023. Now most right-wing bloggers & think-tanks in NZ are based in Wellington, like Farrar's Kiwi Blog, the Tax Payers Union, NZ Initiative, and more. Though they're loudly opposed to big government spending big money to fix our country's problems, when it comes to sorting out Wellington City's problems, they're quiet. What are those problems? Where to start?

Untold billions are "needed" to fix its water-supply, build new tunnels under the City, which consultants have just been hired to look into, or bore through Mt. Victoria, as well as build billion dollar cycle-ways into the City from the Hutt, and a ton more, all to save Wellington from oblivion, even though its army of bureaucrats refuse to go into their offices to work there anymore. My prediction is Wellington will go the way of Detroit in the US, which also is shrinking. The seeds of Wellington City's decline lay in the reasons it was established in the first place. Wellington City Council says it all:

"The colony's [NZ's] capital was originally established by Governor William Hobson in the Bay of Islands. After 1841 it was sited in Auckland. A panel of Australian-based commissioners later designated Wellington the seat of government due to its favorable geography, sheltered harbour and central location".

How revealing. Wellington was made the capital purely due for geographical reasons - none of which now apply. Its harbor is barely used now for commercial shipping, its geography is unfavorable since we've learnt more about the fault-lines that it lies upon & its central location as a mid-point between North & South Islands is redundant in our age of modern communications & transportation. The reasons Wellington is not being gradually shut-down are political - both National & Labour are terrified about losing several hundred thousand votes should they bring up the topic - like John Key once tried to do before the Party told him off. But on a cost-benefit basis, no public money should be sunk into Wellington - other than what Wellingtonians themselves are prepared to stump up with from their own rates & and taxes. As there is zero chance of Wellingtonians doing so, they should not bring down the whole of NZ with them and lay waste to our prosperous towns and cities, which are the new future of our country.

Professor Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. He has previously worked at the Reserve Bank, Oxford University, and the London School of Economics. He runs the blog Down to Earth Kiwi from where this article was sourced.


TJS said...

That is a sad indictment and I think you're missing something. Too bad it has been such a lefty haven and has been the waste and neglect of city councils over the years.

If you care to drive down what used to seem a treacherous gorge becomes a most spectacular view, the entrance to Wellington. One of the deepest ports and most beautifully shaped. Drive a little and exit the motorway to Thordon Quay and get some bread or patisserie.

Enter the CBD where you will find some of the most beautiful examples of art Deco buildings in New Zealand made of granite capped with copper or brass adorned with statuettes of bronze.

Drive past Te Papa and continue to Oriental Bay, aptly named for being in the east. Facing west to get the last hours of the light. Evening views are awesome.

Venture to the back, to Buckle Street and see the War Memorial Museum but just look at the Corillon that's pretty cool on its own.

Anyway, if you continue you can drive to Island Bay through a Valley and drive around the little bays at the headlands of the south of the North Island. What is better views than those? Come on. I think there are some pretty awesome things about Wellington. Such a shame about its pipes and it's weird Mayor and CC.

CXH said...

Agree totally. Somewhere like Palmerston North would be perfect. However I would put Auckland in the same basket. Why is our biggest city in such a geographically constrained location. Makes no sense to spend billions trying to make it what it can never be. Both Wellington and Auckland should be holiday towns, seaside resorts. No amount of money will change this.

However there is to much money tied up by those that have lots of it for it to ever happen. So we will continue throwing billions we don't have to keep the wealthy content.

Anonymous said...

"Somewhere like Palmerston North would be perfect". Lols.
Yep that would do it. Kill it for all involved.

Anonymous said...

Auckland is humid, dysfunctional, sitting on a live volcanic substrata, racially riven and has plenty of wind for yachts. Yet for some reason it is the fantasy dream for so many NZers.


Stretch the question on step further - why live in NZ a fatuous self important little country full of maoris and others.