How do we keep Taranaki’s economy pumping as we transition to a low emissions future?

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Taranaki’s energy and dairy-based economy is facing challenges as the country transitions to a low emissions future and New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) wants to know if it should invest more to stimulate economic diversification?

This is the third chapter in a six-week public conversation seeking feedback on five big issues that are important to our district as we work on our draft 10-year Plan.

These are:


Treasury have forecast a drop of 1.2 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by 2050 as a result of this transition nationally, and without intervention Taranaki is set to feel these impacts as our traditional energy, and dairy sectors respond to the changing environment, coupled with tighter regulation.


International ratings agency S&P Global is forecasting less than 1 per cent growth this year as we continue to contend with significant external challenges, including inflation, supply chain challenges, extreme weather events, and the fight for talent in a post-Covid world.


“There’s just not enough Central Government funding to go round and after the huge impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, it seems our fate as a region is determined by what we can do to help ourselves. Covid has shown how exposed we are to global financial shocks as supply chains slow and costs skyrocket,” says NPDC Councillor Bryan Vickery.


NPDC Councillor Marie Pearce agrees tough financial times call for a rethink.


“Taranaki currently has the highest GDP per capita in New Zealand at $77,000 (Stats NZ), but the big question is how do we collectively maintain our high standard of living? We need to explore other ways of creating high-value business sectors such as dairy and energy, and how we diversify to build economic resilience,” said Councillor Pearce.


Our economic development strategy Tapuae Roa identified ‘four futures’ or focus areas in 2018; Energy, Food, Visitors, and the Māori Economy as key areas of regional economic growth.


Food and fibres were chosen to diversify our current agricultural strengths, building resilience through increased land productivity, and programmes like Branching Out by Venture Taranaki are starting to catalyse these opportunities.


Meanwhile, tourism and our budding visitor economy were challenged throughout Covid. There are very real opportunities for us to capitalise on as a region, including changing visitor behaviours as tourists look for unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences and less crowds, and as new visitor experiences look to come online.


The Māori economy is also burgeoning, with many opportunities and investments being realised, that will bring significant growth and development to the region as a whole.


New low-emission energy is also taking shape, as we work collaboratively to attract talent, investment, and opportunity for the region, and New Zealand’s future energy supply. Our district is full of talent; however, the transition ahead requires significant support to bridge what is a significant gap as we look to 2050. 

“Taranaki’s Tapuae Roa regional economic development strategy and the 2050 roadmap look to a low-emissions future through developments such as wind, solar and hydrogen power,” says NPDC Councillor Harry Duynhoven.

“They are both great plans, but do we need to turbo boost investment around these to ensure these opportunities are fully realised, and our economy is able to generate the momentum needed to face the challenges ahead?”


With the current Taranaki GDP sitting at about $10 billion in 2022, with New Plymouth District contributing about $7b of this.  NPDC currently invests $3.5m in regional development agency Venture Taranaki/Te Puna Umanga each year to help grow and diversify our economy.


They do this through the delivery of programmes and projects to support, attract, and grow opportunity, and investment, like that of the establishment of the National New Energy Centre Ara Ake, or the investigation of the Offshore Wind opportunity for Taranaki, as well as providing business support and innovation services, and promoting and positioning our region nationally and internationally.

With the opportunities we are now presented with, and the restricted central government funding landscape, is there a case for more investment into our economy and Venture Taranaki?

Every three years, residents help us build our draft 10-year work programme to manage $4 billion worth of assets and $3 billion budget.

Give us a hand by completing this short survey. Everyone who completes it goes into the draw to win one of five $300 shopping vouchers. Find out more at


Feedback closes 5pm, Wednesday 12 July.