Welcome message from the RSA Ambassador to New Zealand, Etienne Nel.
I am very pleased to accept the position of RSA ambassador for New Zealand. I have had a career long interest in regional issues, regional inequality and the degree to which external interventions and local initiatives can address development challenges and enhance the quality of life in areas which are either well-integrated with or peripheral to the global and metropolitan mainstream.
These themes are of particular interest in New Zealand’s evolving developmental context. Globally competitive urban clusters and high value rural amenity and productive landscapes co-exist in New Zealand with areas experiencing demographic change, rural deprivation and economic loss. Recent state initiatives appear to have done little to address these disparities, while local initiatives are often hampered by capacity and resource constraints.
I personally feel that despite oft quoted fiscal constraints, there is a moral imperative to work with communities and institutions to enhance well-being, quality of life and development prospects. Sound data gathering and analysis, aligned with action research and policy support are key skills academics and practitioners can contribute.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss regional studies in New Zealand.
RSA International Hour Webinar
Aotearoa/New Zealand – 5th April 2023
The International Hour is a webinar series organised by the RSA’s international community and networks. The series presents latest regional/urban research, developments and policies from around the world and offers a platform for discussion and exchange of ideas.
The webinars are free to attend and open to all. Recordings of previous sessions will be made available in the RSA Lounge.
On 5 April 2023 Aotearoa New Zealand will host the RSA International Hour webinar at 9am NZ time. Click here for more information.
Title: Engaging with regional and local economic development in New Zealand
Regional and local development is experiencing a period of flux in New Zealand, occasioned by a range of key factors, including:
– The economic impacts of COVID
– Climate change and recent weather-related disasters
– The restructuring of the central government support for regional development
– Local government reforms and governance changes
– Market and economic change
– Parallel processes of selective small town population loss or gain and the associated challenges of both
– The impact on new policy requirements on farming
This session seeks to encourage debate around these issues this session and to bring together policy makers, practioners and academics to discuss the current and future opportunities and challenges which they see playing out in the regional and local development space in New Zealand.
Part A: Extended Introduction:
– The seven speakers introduce themselves and detail the nature of their work / research, the current challenges which they are seeking to address and current development / research initiatives (5mins / speaker)
Part B: Open Debate around the following questions:
– Is current legislation and policy fit for purpose in the local and regional development and governance space?
– How prepared are agencies to engage with Just Transition and climate change ?
– How can current research contribute to addressing these development challenges, are there other topics which need research ?
– Government perspective – Sammy Bergen, researcher and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
– Regional Development Agencies – Bobbi Brown, General Manager: Tourism and Events, Great South, Invercargill.
– Local Government economic actions – Mel Jones, Business Attraction and Recovery Manager, Waitaki District Council, Omarau
– Local Government economic actions – Peter Harris, Economic Development Manager, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Queenstown
– Regional Government Changes – Jeff McNeill, Academic, Massey University, Palmerston North.
– Regenerative Place-making – Barbara Ribeiro, Academic, University of Auckland, Auckland.
– Spatial microsimulation model of New Zealand – Malcom Campbell, Academic, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Click here for more information on this and other RSA International Hour webinar.
Regional Studies in New Zealand
Regional concerns and regional differences are a significant feature of the New Zealand geographical landscape. These range from debates over the causes and future of the so-called ‘zombie town’ phenomenon, questions over the degree to which the recently down-scaled Provincial Growth Fund succeeded in making a difference to wellbeing nationally, and whether local and regional initiatives in places such as Taranaki and Southland can in fact lead to locally-led development and promote a ‘just transition’.
A related issue in New Zealand is the degree to which local authorities can achieve the well-being objectives they are tasked to do, given their common fiscal and capacity constraints. In parallel, addressing development backlogs in Māori communities and in former resource-based towns and districts remain particular challenges. Equally so is the challenge of trying to balance government fiscal constraints with very real and the often growing development backlogs which exist spatially.