Migration is one of the ways that individuals can improve their chances of getting a job; it allows them to move to regions with better employment prospects. However, migration flows may also work against policies that aim to improve the employment prospects for people in low-growth regions.
If the benefits of regional development policy accrue primarily to people who move into an area to take advantage of the assistance offered, the policy may fail to raise the living standards of the initial residents.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest in regional issues in New Zealand with the re-establishment of a Ministerial post with responsibility for Industry and Regional Development. The broad aim of the regional development programme is “to facilitate and promote sustainable regional development to help regions respond to local opportunities”.
This paper examines whether New Zealand residents move from low-growth to high-growth regions, using New Zealand census data from the past three inter-censal periods (covering 1986-2001).