Growing Apart

Growing Apart

Regional Prosperity in New Zealand

If we rank our regions internationally, Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury are comparable to France, Finland and Saudi Arabia respectively. But the smaller regions look like Timor-Leste (Northland), Greece (Manawatu-Whanganui and Gisborne) or other emerging economies such as Cyprus and the Seychelles.

The gaps between New Zealand’s regions are increasing. Many local economies are stagnating, some are faced with grave decline and just a select few are advancing. Deep-seated economic forces are driving these tectonic-like shifts. High-profile economist Shamubeel Eaqub uncovers these forces and what they mean for the changing economic fortunes of our regions, and the future of New Zealand. 

Shamubeel Eaqub at the 2014 LGNZ conference

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Print publication:
Ebook publication: Jul 2014
Pages: 92
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781927277614
ISTC: A02201400000554B
DOI: 10.7810/9781927277614

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'Now We Are Five (Million): New Zealand's dying towns', Susan Strongman, RNZ, 13 November 2019

'Small town life: Does Darfield need a gimmick to put itself on the map?', John McCrone, Stuff, 8 August 2015

'Economist behind term "zombie towns" sceptical over policy', Morning Report, Radio New Zealand, 28 July 2015

‘Children reject TV’s image of their town’, Wanganui Chronicle

'Vibrancy here not zombies, says Key', Zaryd Wilson, Wanganui Chronicle

'Robbing the regions - and rail's rejuvinating power', Tim Watkin, Pundit

'Thinking needs to change', Jay Kuten, Wanganui Chronicle

'A tale of two New Zealands', Elle Hunt, The Wireless, 5 November 2014

'Return of the living dead - the towns fight back', Joanna Mathers, New Zealand Herald

'Economist to work on export strategy', Zaryd Wilson, Wanganui Chronicle

Watch Shamubeel on 'Zombie Towns', Sunday News, TVNZ

'Regional revival depends on ditching these flawed policies', Jim Howard, Wanganui Chronicle

'Well placed to deal with change', Opinion, Helen Marie O'Connell, Wanganui Chronicle

'Decline is not inevitable but change absolutely essential', Shamubeel Eaqub, Wanganui Chronicle

'Zombie-town jibe a wake-up call', Lindy Laird, Northern Advocate

'Wanganui alive and well' and '"Zombies" march in support of their city', Laurel Stowell, Wanganui Chronicle

'Maori urged to advocate for regions', Robin Martin, Taranaki reporter, Radio NZ National

'We'll be back, says TVNZ', Wanganui Chronicle

Read Whanganui electoral candidates' views on Growing Apart in '5 Questions', Wanganui Chronicle

Read Nevil Gibson's review of Growing Apart on Unlimited

Shamubeel spoke at the Local Government NZ seminar on 12 August, along with Grant Robertson, Steven Joyce and Lawrence Yule

Read this Q&A with Shamubeel and Niko Kloeten in the Sunday Star Times

Check out Shamubeel and NZ Herald Property editor Anne Gibson discussing capital gains tax

Read this ‘Editor’s Insight’ on The National Business Review

Read Shamubeel’s op-ed on

Read an extract from the book on The National Business Review

Listen to Shamubeel’s ‘Double Shot interview’ on

Have a look at this ‘Live chat’ with Shamubeel,

Read this article discussing the book and our ‘key rural challenges’, Alan Williams, AgriHQ

Listen to Bernard Hickey talking to Marcus Lush about the book on Radio Live

Hear Shamubeel on The Panel with Tim Watkin and Gary McCormick, Radio New Zealand National

Listen to Shamubeel talk about Growing Apart on Newstalk ZB

Watch Lisa Owen interview Shamubeel on ‘The Nation’, TV3 News


‘Eaqub doesn’t recommend particular policies, instead arguing for further careful investigation. He is right. Too often we grab a policy which is simple, attractive, expensive and doesn’t work ... [Growing Apart] may become an important resource for those outside the inner economic debate’, Brian Easton, New Zealand Books, Autumn 2015

‘Good things, so the cliché goes, sometimes arrive in surprisingly small packages ... It’s well worth reading [Shamubeel’s] short text to get a good bead on a threatening target’, Reg Birchfield, New Zealand Management

‘... short, accessible and stuffed full of clear evidence that economic action is needed, and not just action that fiddles around the edges. The conversation about inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand must continue, and these easily digestible texts should help ensure it does’, Marlene Ware, Scoop Review of Books

‘[Growing Apart] should be compulsory reading for those in provincial New Zealand, plus every bureaucrat and politician at national and local level. It details the discrepancies in growth between cities and provinces and argues its case in a logical, unemotive manner ... He considers globalisation, urbanisation, advances in technology, education, and ageing. He doesn’t claim to offer solutions but addresses the issues ... The book is well written, evidence based, and pulls no punches ... It is worth a read’, Alan Emerson, AgriHQ

‘Mr Eaqub’s book is short and snappy – a mere 85 pages – but is a must read for any understanding of the future and the options available’, Nevil Gibson, The National Business Review

‘A must read for anyone wanting to understand the structure of the contemporary New Zealand economy’, Wayne Mapp, Pundit