Monitoring the economic pulse of the Waikato

Monitoring the Economic Pulse of the Waikato

“Business and industry, including transnational corporations, play a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country... Increasing prosperity, a major goal of the development process, is contributed primarily by the activities of business and industry. Business enterprises, large and small, formal and informal, provide major trading, employment and livelihood opportunities.”

Article 30.1, Agenda 21, United Nations Earth Summit, 1992.


Reliable up-to-date regional economic data is crucial for planners, policymakers and local government, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Dr Warren Hughes, who is now an Honorary Fellow of the University, and Professor Frank Scrimgeour, who is Dean of the Waikato Management School, have been collating and analysing regional economic data for the Waikato and surrounding regions over the last 20 years.

Their data is crucial to regional economic development work in the Waikato undertaken by Hamilton City Council and other local councils, and acts as a valuable bellwether for businesses in the region.

For example, their analysis was invaluable in establishing the Waikato Innovation Park and its most recently announced expansion. It has also prompted action to recruit and retain a skilled and stable workforce in the region.

With Associate Professor Stuart Locke, they have also carried out economic impact analyses on major regional events, such as the National Agricultural Fieldays, measuring not just the direct impact of the event but its wider ripple effect. Their research indicates that Fieldays is the biggest event in the region, and one of the largest events in New Zealand in terms of its impact on the economy.

Dr Hughes edits the Regional Economic Bulletin, and all three researchers also work with the University’s Management Research Centre, which has been offering a benchmarking service to businesses and organisations for 27 years.


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