Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Japanese City Upgrade Plans Miss Targets

Only 33 of 109 Japanese cities have achieved their revitalisation targets after a total of an astonishing $NZ29 billion has been spent over last 10 years.

Around 210 plans from 141 cities were approved as part of a giant local economic development improvement project to improve local infrastructure and tourist facilities.

Sound familiar? The new New Zealand government has made at least a billion Kiwi dollars avaiable for a similarly motivated endeavour.

The trouble with such well intentioned activities is that the “solution” doesn’t always deliver what was expected, and the facts that they were based on can change.

In Japan, greater population decline than was expected has been at the heart of many of these results.

The message is not that governments shouldn’t be a partner for local economic development. It is however that greater scrutiny and smaller ambition should be at the core of the planning.

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