Additionally, regions with smaller population bases and less dominant service sectors often rely on primary production industries, such as agriculture or horticulture, which yield lower average incomes and skill requirements, and face their own challenges in remaining relevant in an ever-changing, increasingly international marketplace.
Many of our regional populations are aging. This follows a wider OECD trend for aging populations across the western world, and is equally apparent nationally in New Zealand in our main centres. This issue is compounded by population movements within the country. As more people are drawn to our cities, there are potentially fewer young people and families to drive economic activity in our small towns and regions.
If many of our regions are to meet the challenges of an aging population, shrinking workforces and the resulting potential for economic stagnation or decline, game changing industries like the oil and gas industry offer high value jobs and essential economic activity.