Brad Olsen to deliver economic insights

One of New Zealand’s most well-regarded economists is visiting Whanganui to share insights on the region’s economic growth and position.

Brad Olsen is Whanganui & Partners’ guest speaker at the Economic Development Agency’s Public Forum next month. Olsen is Infometrics’ Chief Executive, and Principal Economist, and is a sought-after expert who is familiar to many through his economic commentary in national media.

At its Public Forum on March 7, Whanganui & Partners will also give a regular update on its activities supporting business, promoting the region to visitors and positively raising Whanganui’s profile. Chief Executive Hannah Middleton will also report on the agency’s progress to date as it works towards the goals set out in its Statement of Intent for 2022-2023.

Middleton said it was the perfect time to invite Olsen to speak. “We have just released figures outlining Whanganui’s economic growth in 2022 and we now have the opportunity to hear an independent view of where we’re at.

“We believe the metrics show we have a strong economic platform which will help us weather economic uncertainty and challenge, while also stimulating further growth.”

Middleton said it was also a chance for the public to gain a better understanding of how and why the economic measures the agency reports on are relevant.

“It’s important for people to understand why we track measures like GDP, for example, and how measures like this reflect the broad health of our economy but are also useful for individual businesspeople to understand.”

In 2022, Whanganui’s GDP grew by 5.6 per cent, ahead of the national figure of 5.3 per cent. Whanganui’s growth is the highest it has recorded since 2005. There was productivity growth of 2.8 per cent in Whanganui last year, compared to the national average of 2.3 per cent.

Whanganui recorded employment growth of 2.7 per cent, with a record 21,368 jobs in the region. Unemployment fell to 3.8 per cent in 2022, down from 5.7 per cent in 2021.

“We know the dashboard we produce gives a broad view of the economy, but having a guest economist like Brad gives us a chance to put these figures into context and get an independent perspective.”

Middleton said that the Forum would be held at The Backhouse, on Taupō Quay, and would be a good chance to see the progress made at the innovation hub created by Whanganui & Partners and UCOL/Te Pūkenga.

“This forum is a great chance to get to know Whanganui & Partners better, to hear about the projects we’re involved in and the ways we’re supporting local business,” Middleton said.

People were welcome to register and Middleton said refreshments would be provided at the event.

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