GDP and employment data shows city centre outpacing NZ for second consecutive year

Publish Date : 13 Feb 2024
Britomart Dec 2023 Photo Credit Gino Deneer
Britomart at night
Gary Blick 2 Photo Credit Bryan Lowe Auckland Council Resize
Auckland Council Chief Economist Gary Blick
Jenny Larking Head Of City Centre Programes Auckland Council Vertical
Auckland Council Head of City Centre Programmes Jenny Larking

For the second year in a row, Auckland’s high-achieving city centre has outpaced New Zealand in both GDP and employment growth.

GDP in the city centre grew by 9.2 per cent in the year to March 2023, reaching $30.4 billion, according to the latest Auckland City Centre Overview by Infometrics. That growth rate was well ahead of New Zealand as a whole, which increased by 2.8 per cent in the same period.

Read more here: Infometrics Regional Economic Profile.

Employment in Auckland’s city centre was up 7.3 per cent in the year to March 2023 compared with the equivalent increase for New Zealand of 2.5 per cent. Auckland’s city centre remains the largest employment centre in New Zealand, with an average of 157,500 jobs in the year to March 2023 being the highest on record - many in professional and financial service industries that support the region and the rest of New Zealand.

“These are very positive signs,” says Auckland Council Chief Economist Gary Blick.

“The city centre is the primary commercial centre of the New Zealand economy, so it’s good news for the whole country that growth in this highly productive location has been bouncing back after the challenges of the pandemic and its after-effects,” he says.
Vulcan Lane, city centre laneway network

Vulcan Lane, city centre laneway network

He points to the resilience of growth in the city centre over time.

“Estimated GDP for the city centre has grown at an annual average rate of 4.4 per cent since 2000 per compared with 2.7 per cent for New Zealand. A relatively small area of 4.3km2, or 0.4 per cent of the region, is able to generate about 20 per cent of Auckland’s GDP or 8 per cent nationally,” Blick says.

“That productivity is enabled by the presence of high value service industries that choose the city centre for its proximity to other businesses, its accessibility and general amenity,” he says.

Jenny Larking, Auckland Council Head of City Centre Programmes, is encouraged to see the city centre’s economic performance has remained strong in the two years to March 2023.

She says the council’s delivery of city centre urban renewal projects will help ensure the city centre continues to thrive into the future.

The midtown regeneration series of projects was described in 2021 here.

“By the end of 2026, midtown will be the gateway into and out of Te Waihorotiu Station, predicted to be the busiest train station in the country.

“We’re making sure surrounding streets and spaces will be ready, underground infrastructure will have new capacity and greater resilience, businesses and residents will have a beautiful new backyard, and the area will be reflective of Tāmaki Makaurau with expressions of te ao Māori and references to the area’s history throughout our landscaping and design,” she says.
Queen Street Waihorotiu path – square to square

Queen Street Waihorotiu path – square to square

Larking adds that many of the public space projects the Auckland Council group is delivering in the city centre, such as Te Hā Noa and Myers Park, guided by the City Centre Masterplan, are funded by the city centre targeted rate which is paid by property owners situated within the city centre.

“The city centre is already home to around 38,000 people and we can imagine thousands of people will join them here every day using multiple modes of transport to travel to work, two universities, hospitality, entertainment, shopping and a vibrant arts community,” Larking says.

In the next six months, Aucklanders can expect to see further momentum in the midtown regeneration programme:

  • Lunar New Year – 10 to 25 February – Auckland Council is hosting a celebration of the positive energy, creativity and flair the region’s young Asian Kiwis are bringing to the city in reimagining of Lunar New Year. Aucklanders and visitors will experience the rich colours, sounds, tastes, traditions and beats of Asia. More here.

Lunar New Year - Lucky Cats in Darby Street

Lunar New Year - Lucky Cats in Darby Street

  • Myers Park – the much-acclaimed new artwork Waimahara will become interactive in late March. Learn more here. 

  • Wellesley Street Bus Improvements – led by Auckland Transport, Wellesley Street will become one of the main bus transit routes through the city centre in the new bus plan and a major transport interchange with Te Waihorotiu Station. The street will also be a thriving pedestrian destination, with widened footpaths, upgraded streetscapes and renewed bus shelter infrastructure.

  • Federal Street (southern end) – a new artwork will take its place in the southern end of the newly upgraded street, opening with the lighting elements in place in April. Learn more about this new shared space here.

  • Te Hā Noa – this winter the first of the new mature trees will be planted in the midtown section of Te Hā Noa in Victoria Street - from Elliott Street to Queen Street - along the fringes of this walking and cycling prioritised street. More than 20 native trees in total will be planted in Te Hā Noa, from Albert Street to Kitchener Street, adding to the city centre’s expanding urban ngahere (forest), providing shade and shelter, cooling the city and soaking up carbon. Learn more here. 

  • Watercare Wastewater Network Upgrade – substantive works on a $66 million upgrade and reroute of the city's wastewater network will begin mid-2024, building capacity for future residential and commercial growth and further safeguarding the health of the Waitematā Harbour. The tunnelling construction is designed to reduce disruption at street level and ensure these underground services are completed ahead of streetscape upgrades. Learn more here.

An outline of how the city centre targeted rate was invested by Auckland Council in 2022 / 23 – view here.  

Te Komititanga – festive activation supported by CCTR

Te Komititanga – festive activation supported by CCTR

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