Wānaka Sun       

Census shows Wānaka growing faster than Queenstown

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 03 Oct, 2019 | By Emma Conyngham editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

Wānaka knew it was growing but now the numbers are in from the 2018 census and the little town on the edge of the most beautiful lake in the country has skyrocketed to the top of the growth statistics. 

The census shows the total combined population of Queenstown Lakes ‘usually resident population' is 39,153. In Wānaka district, the total population is 13,041. As a district, Queenstown Lakes has grown by 38.7 percent since the last census in 2013 — the fastest growing district in New Zealand. 

However, when those numbers are broken down, the pace of growth in Wānaka outstrips Queenstown. The census divided Wānaka District into 10 statistical areas (SAs), whilst Queenstown was divided into 19. In Wānaka, all but Cardrona and Outer Wānaka (Mt Aspiring National Park) were over the 30 percent highest growth rate threshold. Cardrona was still high, in the 20.1 to 30 percent category. However, out of Queenstown's 19 SAs, only eight were over the 30 percent growth threshold. 

When examining the occupied dwellings rate, the difference between Queenstown and Wānaka are striking. Queenstown has seven SAs with over 50% of dwellings unoccupied —  in reality, many of those houses are used as short-term holiday accommodation. The majority of Wānaka sits between 10-20% unoccupied. In regards to housing, the pressure in Hāwea stood out; their unoccupied dwellings has dropped considerably, whilst their occupancy has gone from 357 houses occupied in 2013, to 462 in 2018. 

Since 2013, the number of occupied dwellings in Wānaka has gone from 2721 to 3675. 

In response to the release of the data, Queenstown Lakes District Council said, “QLDC has known for a number of years that Queenstown Lakes is the fastest growing district in New Zealand.

“As a result we have set up a process to update our population projections. We have been eagerly awaiting the release of the census to check on our population projections and update them accordingly; this will include updating our data to include the new statistical area units.

“A number of factors are taken into consideration when updating the QLDC projections. These include census results; migration; housing and business land capacities and projected capacities; building and resource consent data; and data from the government and other parties.

“The next update of the QLDC population projections is due to take place in December 2019 and will incorporate the census results. The updated QLDC population projections will inform the Ten Year plan.”

The Wānaka Sun asked QLDC if council's investment in infrastructure correctly reflects the fact that Wānaka is growing faster than Queenstown however no direct answer was given. 


At a glance: Census resident population

                                  2013              2018

Wanaka Central        876                1263

Wanaka West            1323              1725

Wanaka Waterfront  1374               2121

Wanaka North           1614              2412

Albert Town               1287             2031

Cardrona                    507               633

Upper Clutha Valley  879               1257

Lake Hawea               798               1200

Outer Wanaka           378                399

Total:                         9036              13041



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