Mackenzie District Growth projections

The latest growth projections commissioned by Mackenzie District Council show the region will recover from the COVID19 shock within the next five years.

The growth projections have been approved by council and map growth across the district over the next thirty years. The District's population is expected to increase by over 4000 people, from 4950 today to 9050 in 2050

The projections, which take into account a range of factors including migration, employment, housing capacity, birth and death rates and lifestyle factors, show a dip in growth due to the impact of COVD-19, but expect the district to have fully recovered by 2025.

Growth will affect different areas in different ways, with the towns of Tekapo (Takapō) and Twizel likely to be the most affected COVID-19 and the slowdown in international visitors, due to their reliance on the tourism market. However, both towns are expected to recover, with projected levels of growth returning to levels similar to what has been seen in the last five years.

A major issue to face for both these towns is a lack of housing capacity, based on current zoning in the operative District Plan and how land is currently being developed. The new projections show Tekapo expected to run out of housing capacity by 2030 and then reach population capacity by 2040, while Twizel is expected to run out of space for housing by 2040.

In the Eastern Mackenzie, the Fairlie and Opuha statistical areas are expected to continue to grow, albeit at a much slower rate than the towns of the Mackenzie Basin.

Mayor Graham Smith said the projections appear to reflect the general feeling of optimism being seen across the district.

"There's no doubt that we've taken quite a hit due to COVID-19 and the lockdown, but I think we're in a better place than other tourism dependent areas. We've only got so much capacity for tourism, so what we've been seeing is a massive resurgence of domestic visitors as kiwis rediscover what makes the Mackenzie District so special."

"What the projections really spell out is that we need to take a good look at how we zone our land for growth. We're doing a lot of work in this space with a spatial planning project already underway for Fairlie, Tekapo and Twizel, which will inform a complete review of our District Plan."

The growth projections will be used to help Council understand the location and timing of future development, ensuring council infrastructure, strategy and investment can be best utilised through processes such as the long-term plan and future annual plans.

Click here to download the Growth Predictions (Summary) (Full Report)


The growth predictions have been produced as part of the Township Spatial Planning project which will inform a review of the District Plan. You can find full details - and get involved in the process - by visiting our engagement website here.

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