Pandemic effect a blip, modelling shows

Jim Boult
Despite taking a heavy hit from the pandemic, the Queenstown Lakes district will continue to be an appealing place to live, Mayor Jim Boult says.

His comments come after population projection figures released by the Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday showed only a temporary slowdown in growth for the region.

The data demonstrated that while a slowdown in growth over the next 10 years is expected, population figures will increase in the 20 years that follow.

“We do have to remember that we live in the most attractive part of the world, and for a long time people have been keen to move to our part of the world and have been doing that in ever increasing numbers,” Mr Boult said.

“Clearly Covid-19 and the effects of that will slow everything, including population growth for a period. But I do expect that we will come under population growth pressure again at a time in the future.”

The data showed four different demand projections were considered, all based on the council’s 2018 population projections.

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Mike Theelen said while Covid-19 would have a significant impact on the district’s population in the short term, this did not mean development would stop.

“Both historic and current patterns suggest the district can have continued confidence about its future population. The district has very strong demographic fundamentals, and while the economic and social dislocation as a result of Covid will dampen demand, this will eventually return.”

Mr Theelen said modelling predicted ongoing family formation, the migration of people across New Zealand and elsewhere, along with perceptions of Queenstown as a great place to live, work, and play, would ensure population trends recovered over time.

Data for population change since the start of the pandemic was unavailable.

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