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Masterton leading region-wide growth

JAKE BELESKI

[email protected]

Masterton is leading the way in region-wide population growth in Wellington, with Carterton and South Wairarapa not too far behind.

Estimates released by Statistics New Zealand showed Masterton’s population increased by 2.3 per cent in the year to June, while New Zealand’s overall population increase for the year was 2.1 per cent.

Carterton (1.7 per cent) and South Wairarapa (1.4 per cent) also recorded an increase over the same period.

Wellington City (2.3 per cent) was the only region in Wellington to match Masterton’s growth in that time.

The estimates show Masterton’s population grew by 560 to 25,200 in the year to June, while Carterton went up by 150 to a total of 9060, and South Wairarapa by 140 to 10,250.

The entire Wellington region’s population grew by an estimated 1.8 per cent in the year to June, equivalent to an additional 9000 people.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said Masterton was enjoying its strongest growth for many years, as more and more people discovered the benefits of a rural provincial lifestyle.

“We have worked hard to attract new families and businesses here through our My Masterton programme, which highlights everything our town and its wonderful community have to offer.

“Having recently been named New Zealand’s Most Beautiful City, we look forward to continued growth in the future.”

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said the substantial growth across Wairarapa was not a surprise to him.

“Anecdotally I’ve seen a lot of people move into those areas.

“That’s because you’re getting that drift of people moving out of Auckland, and into any other place but Auckland.”

On top of that, Wairarapa was an outstanding place to live compared to other regions in New Zealand, he said.

“It’s commutable to Wellington, you’ve got affordability compared to other commutable cities or towns, and you’ve got the big open spaces.

“Anything that attracts a tourist is going to be attractive to a resident as well.”

Increasing populations can put stress on infrastructure and other areas, but Mr Scott said the councils were working hard to make sure they were prepared for any level of growth.

“They’re onto re-zoning and planning for that growth.

“In the medium term I think things are in good shape, and in the long term I think they’re in good shape because of the good work the councils are doing right now.”

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency general manager of development and foresight, Jeremy Harding, said the population increase represented a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.

“Between our natural increase and net migration, population growth has risen to just under two per cent in the year to June, a 20-year high.

“Our 15 to 39-year-old age group is growing the fastest, which is ideal from a workforce perspective.

“This means Wellington is attracting more people who can help the region grow productively, at a rate that is not overwhelming in terms of housing and infrastructure needs.”

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