Adviser questions economic ratings

Palmerston North's plummet down a league table of city and districts' economic performance is disputed by city council economic policy adviser Peter Crawford.

The BERL regional rankings for 2011 show the city dropping 30 places, landing at No48 of 66 placings.

The survey ranks councils on factors including population, employment, GDP, business units, and the Relative Openness Index, which measures the relative influence of export markets.

The authors said there were no distinct issues to point at in the decline in Palmerston North.

But Mr Crawford said that was mainly because it did not happen.

His top criticism of the analysis was the weighting given to a single job count, that influenced four of the nine key indicators, he said.

The measure did not take into account the difference between casual, part-time and fulltime jobs, so did not capture how much better the work force could be if casual jobs became fulltime, and better paid.

"Other authorities probably are wrongly recorded also," he said.

The BERL rankings were based on information that was more than a year old, and did not capture significant growth since then.

Mr Crawford was most surprised it showed Palmerston North's economy with a 2 per cent decline, while Infometrics showed the region outperforming the rest of the country during the 2011 calendar year.

"At no point were we in decline. Our lowest growth rate was 1.4 per cent.

Tararua ranked at 64 (down five) and Rangitikei at 65 (down 14).Horowhenua came in at 56, up nine places on the year before.

Manawatu Standard