Down the economic gurgler?

The hangover of the GFC (which actually stands for Greedy Finance Companies) is still giving some Wellington businesses lingering headaches.  Unfortunately for some businesses it has been as slow as it has been for 20-30 years.  Likely the nasty combination of a high exchange rate, the slow decline of manufacturing in the Wellington region and a general malaise in economic activity in the lower North Island.

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Having our Prime Minister mention that Wellington is dying doesn’t help; to quote:

The reality is even Wellington is dying and we don’t know how to turn it around.  All you have there is government, Victoria University and Weta Workshop.”

That was disingenuous, but such flippant remarks do uncover a deeper truth.  We don’t have the people and activity of Auckland, and the Christchurch rebuild is really bubbling away, even if they can’t create a building consent with a million dollar insurance kick back.

But Wellington does have some real activity that Key forgot to mention:

  • The Mckay to Peka motorway build.  Millions of dollars will be pumped into this project, with Goodmans, Higgins and Fletchers busily setting up the project.  The ‘Highways of National Significance’, is a National Party initiative, something Key obviously forgot.  And it’s bigger than Winston’s Peters ego.
  • Transmission Gully (I know you’re laughing uncontrollably – but the access roads in and out of Wellington are so bad – I think the will and funds will see it being made).  Drilling companies are doing a lot of preparatory work.  I know – I hear you – don’t count your chickens, The Greens will veto the project.  No I’m putting money on this puppy.
  • Railway development with the Hammond/ Fulton Hogan joint venture – Kiwirail continues it maintenance program, and new Railposts are being drilled into the ground as we speak.
  • Earthquake strengthening – the savior of many engineering firms.
  • Of course a few more storms keep everyone busy rebuilding stuff.

So there is activity – and many businesses are fighting harder for what work is available.  There is hope, and the ultimate ingredient – confidence is slowly coming back.

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