A new path for the Chatham Islands

Detailed data review and breakthrough analysis by MartinJenkins have focused attention in the Chatham Islands on plausible and sustainable growth scenarios.

Our analysis depended on robust review of a wide variety of data-sets as well as on-the-ground research to ensure we understood the context. The Chatham Islands are like no other region in New Zealand, and face unique challenges as well as opportunities in working out a sustainable way forward.

The Chathams have unpolluted resources the world is hungry for and experiences people can’t get anywhere else.

We were commissioned by the Chatham Islands Council in 2014 to undertake a thorough economic analysis of the Chatham Islands and its potential for economic growth. This required examination of the social and cultural structure there, to build a good understanding of the likely future infrastructure costs, as well as income potential.

Modelling of the three key earning areas for the Chathams also required deep digging into the fisheries management system for New Zealand and the value of the country’s 200nm exclusive economic zone, as well as exploring the key differences in the cost of living between the islands and the mainland.

The overall findings of this analysis is presented in “A New Path for the Chatham Islands”, published in March 2015. This summary, illustrated with images of the fertile but rugged islands, outlines the Chathams economy and sets out plausible and sustainable growth scenarios for the islands.

The summary was underpinned by a detailed technical report of the Chatham Islands economy, including geographic, demographic, and economic analysis, which covered infrastructure and services as well as the key sectors that support jobs and incomes.

Senior Consultant Jason Leung Wai says the study was a rewarding assignment. Not only was it the first detailed overview of the Chathams economy, the report also clearly demonstrated the Chatham Islands has the potential to be economically self-sufficient, sustainable, and make a positive contribution to the New Zealand economy.

“Our analysis found future sustainable growth in the Chatham Islands will be underpinned by three key sectors: tourism, fishing, agriculture. For these sectors to achieve their potential in the islands, however, will require investment in improving the regulatory environment and appropriate infrastructure.”  

With the right infrastructure, environment and interventions, the Chatham Islands can be a viable economic proposition.

Information from the detailed technical report has been used to support the update of the Chatham Islands Long Term Plan. The summary report has been presented to a range of stakeholders and is being used to encourage investment into the Chatham Islands.