Report shows Govt investing right across the regions

  • Steven Joyce
  • Bill English
Economic Development Finance

The first ever snapshot of central government spending by region shows that taxpayers’ dollars are being evenly distributed across New Zealand.

Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today released the Regional Government Expenditure Report jointly commissioned by Treasury and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and undertaken by NZIER.

The report to 30 June 2012 provides estimates of central government spending (operational and capital) in each of New Zealand’s 16 regions. The estimates are based a direct expenditure approach and a measure based on services. The expenditure approach assigns spending to a region according to where money is spent and the service approach assigns expenditure according to the region for which a government service is provided.

Key findings include:

  • Using the expenditure method, in the year to June 2012 the Government spent $78,020 million, 92 per cent of which was operating expenditure
  • Wellington had the highest per capita operating expenditure ($22,297) and capital expenditure per capita ($2,184) because it is the capital and headquarters of many of the government’s core functions such as policy advice that supports services across New Zealand
  • Canterbury’s per capita share of expenditure is above average due, in large part, to increased spending following the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes
  • Using the services method, Otago had the highest capital expenditure per person ($1,993; page 7 of the report) and Gisborne the highest operating expenditure per person ($19,578; page 6 of the report).

Table 1 Core Crown Spending by region

“The development of all of New Zealand’s regions is hugely important to the Government and the national economy. This report shows the Government is investing in all our regions helping to support families, business growth, jobs and higher incomes,” Mr English says.

“The report will be a useful tool to monitor changes over time alongside the Regional Economic Activity Report and Statistics New Zealand’s Regional GDP update, which have both been released in the last four months.”

Mr Joyce says the report covers all Government expenditure, everything from building roads and hospitals, to social welfare payments, education and research and development.

“The results in the expenditure report show that regional expenditure broadly reflects the size of the population in each region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Small variations in Government spending across regions reflect their different demographics and characteristics. Regions with higher numbers of older people tend to have higher superannuation and health expenditure; areas with lower unemployment tend to have less social welfare spending.

“The Government remains committed to strengthening investment in all our regions helping them achieve their potential and boosting jobs and quality of life for all New Zealand families.”

The report is available at: