Wellington Regional Business Expo
Last week, I attended a Regional Business Expo at Westpac Stadium with fellow Wellington-based list MPs Chris Bishop and Paul Foster-Bell.
The expo was organised by Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and hosted a large contingent of local as well as Wellington businesses, which shared their products and services with expo-goers.
The National Party had a stand there for the day and it afforded us a great chance to talk to business owners and members of the public visiting the Expo. Unsurprisingly, we recognised a number of the businesses present, including Survive-it, which showcased its survival-and-response products. Their collaborating partners in Tremor Sense were also there.
The Expo was a useful reminder of the importance of the private sector to greater Wellington. No-one wants this region to be a mirror-image of Canberra -- home almost exclusively to government departments and agencies. That this, thankfully, is not the case has been reinforced this year by several reports that have shown the increasing robustness of the Capital's economy.
In fact, Wellington is leading the way in economic performance, beating both Auckland and New Zealand as a whole. Earlier this year, The Dominion Post reported that data from the annual Infometrics Wellington CBD report showed the area's GDP grew by 3.8 per cent in the year to March 2015 compared with the year before. Auckland grew by 3.4 per cent and NZ by 3.6.
And the good news did not stop there. Last month, Wellington went from being "the coolest little capital", to being lauded as the "little city that could, and did".
Its "miracle" transformation from "dull" and one-dimensional to bustling with creative and cultural enterprise was praised in an article published in the Huffington Post's Australian edition.
The website reportedly credited Sir Peter Jackson with leading Wellington's creative and cultural resurgence in recent years, and also said it had more bars, restaurants and cafes per capita than New York City.