More choosing to move to Dunedin

Fans take to their feet.
Dunedin’s population grew 2.7% in the year to March.

More people are choosing to make Dunedin home, recent data has revealed.

Dunedin’s population grew 2.7% in the year to March, data released by Infometrics this week showed.

The growth is measured by the number of people enrolled at primary health organisations.

‘‘Health enrolments [in Dunedin], a proxy for population growth, rose 2.7% in the 12 months to March 2019, a really strong result,’’ Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said.

Infometrics estimates showed an average of 114,564 health enrolments during the year to March, compared with 111,514 health enrolments for the year to March 2018.

WellSouth practice network director Paul Rowe said there had been a ‘‘small increase’’ in enrolled patients in Dunedin.

 Logan Park High School pupils Marcus Read and Ariana Poleo (both 15) are both new Dunedin residents. Photo: Jessica Wilson
Logan Park High School pupils Marcus Read and Ariana Poleo (both 15) are both new Dunedin residents. Photo: Jessica Wilson

‘‘Essentially, an increase in patients means more funding goes to the DHB and PHO, as part of the population-based funding formula.’’

He expected this to have minimal impact on the health sector.

Demographic changes, such as an ageing population, tended to have more impact.

He thought there were enough GPs in the city to cover the growing population.

‘‘It’s elsewhere in our district, particularly rural, where there are more workforce stresses.’’

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said many people were moving to the city for employment.

‘‘We have large service industries that are employing workers from out of town.’’

GigCity, connectivity to the rest of New Zealand and transport links from the airport to the city were areas which had been improved.

‘‘It is also about that talent pool that comes out of the polytech and university, and the start-up ecosystem is strong.’’

Logan Park High School pupils Ariana Poleo and Marcus Read (both 15) are just two of the city’s new residents.

Ariana moved from Auckland with her mother and sister in January, and Marcus moved from Nelson with his parents in December.

Ariana said Dunedin was more ‘‘family-oriented’’ than Auckland because it was not as fast-paced.

‘‘The people around here are very friendly.’’

Marcus said even though Dunedin had a bigger population than Nelson, it did not feel like a ‘‘massive city’’.

It had a small-town feel, and everyone in their area knew each other, he said.

The number of tertiary students at the University of Otago was also on the rise.

There were 166 more equivalent full-time students enrolled at the university for semester 1 this year, compared with semester 1 last year.

JESSICA.WILSON@thestar.co.nz

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