New Zealand struggles to grow its economy partially due to its small size and remote location. There is little that can be done to change location, but the size can be increased over time. It is feasible to adopt a population policy with the aim of the population reaching 15 million in the next 50 years – an annual growth rate of 2.5% per annum. This would bring the size and density of the population to levels closer to more prosperous European countries. Fifteen million – two and a half times current projections – is a good target, too, as it allows for several large cities, fostering competition within New Zealand.
Each year NZIER devotes some of its resources to undertake and make freely available economic research and thinking aimed at promoting a better understanding of New Zealand’s important economic challenges. The preparation of this paper was funded from those resources.