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Working in Wellington

12 percent of employed people in New Zealand work in Wellington region

Of the employed population of New Zealand who had a workplace address coded to a region, 220,434 people, or 12.1 percent, gave a workplace address in the Wellington region in 2013. This makes it the third-largest labour market in New Zealand, after Auckland (32.8 percent) and Canterbury (14.1 percent).

Not all who work in the Wellington region are usual residents. In 2013, nearly 6,000 people who gave workplace addresses in the Wellington region lived elsewhere. While the Manawatu-Wanganui region adjoins Wellington and provided 1,683 workers, Auckland provided slightly more – 1,848 workers.

People who live in Auckland but work in Wellington were mainly in the following industries: professional, scientific, and technical services (276); public administration and safety (195); and education and training (144).

Within the Wellington region, the four cities – Porirua, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, and Wellington – dominate the labour market. These cities contained 86.6 percent of the region’s workplace addresses in 2013. 

Table 1
Workplace address of people usually resident in Wellington region
By territorial authority area
2006 and 2013 Censuses

Territorial authority area Number of people who gave a workplace address for the area Change from 2006 to 2013
2006 2013 Number Percent
Porirua city 12,762 14,088 1,326 10.4
Upper Hutt city 10,272 10,545 273 2.7
Lower Hutt city 36,927 37,176 249 0.7
Wellington city 111,660 127,464 15,804 14.2
Total four cities 171,627 189,273 17,646 10.3
Kapiti Coast district 11,901 13,029 1,128 9.5
Masterton district 9,336 9,822 486 5.2
Carterton district 2,682 2,994 312 11.6
South Wairarapa district 3,267 3,543 276 8.4
Total Wellington region(1) 198,819 218,670 19,851 10.0

1. Includes all addresses that could be coded to a territorial authority area.
Note: This data has been randomly rounded to protect confidentiality. Individual figures may not add up to totals, and values for the same data may vary in different tables.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Central Wellington has greatest employment density in New Zealand

Central Wellington has the greatest concentration of employment in New Zealand, with 43,281 people working in the Lambton area unit on census day in 2013. We define the Wellington central city as the area units Lambton, Willis Street–Cambridge Terrace, and Thorndon–Tinakori Road.

The next-highest concentrations of employment nationally are in Auckland Central West (27,234), and in Auckland Central East (21,711).

Figure 2 shows employment density (workplace addresses per square kilometre).

Figure 2
Employment density for selected area units in Wellington region

2013 Census

 Graph, Employment density for selected area units in Wellington region, 2013 Census.

The area units with the most workplaces are in the centre of Wellington city:

  • Lambton (43,281)
  • Willis Street–Cambridge Terrace (19,110)
  • Thorndon–Tinakori Road (17,421).

Of the 10 area units where the largest numbers of people worked, Adelaide and Thorndon–Tinakori Road experienced the fastest growth. Adelaide grew by 44.0 percent between 2006 and 2013 – an increase of 1,350 workers. This increase can partly be attributed to the health services industry, as Wellington Hospital is in Adelaide. The growth of 40.4 percent (or 5,013 people) in Thorndon–Tinakori Road is consistent with the construction of office buildings since 2006.

Figure 3

Graph, Change in number of workplace addresses, for selected area units in the Wellington region, 2006 to 2013 Censuses.

Cars still main mode of commuting, but use decreases in 2013

Car transport remains the main mode of commuting in Wellington, although car use decreased slightly. It fell by 4.6 percent – from 69.2 percent of employed people that went to work on census day in 2001, to 64.6 percent in 2013. This includes people who drove a private or company car, or were a passenger in one.

Of the four cities in the Wellington region, Wellington city had the largest drop in people commuting by car in 2013, falling by 6.7 percent. This is compared with:

  • a 1.9 percent decrease in Lower Hutt
  • a 1.9 percent increase in Porirua.

As shown in figure 4, the decrease in reliance on cars is mirrored by increases for public transport (buses and trains) and active modes of transport (walking, jogging, and cycling).

Figure 4

Graph, Percentage of commuters who took a train to work on census day, by area unit of usual residence in Wellington region, 2013 Census.

Public transport second-most common in region and most area units

After cars, public transport was the next-most common way to commute in the Wellington region on census day in 2013. This was also true for all the territorial authorities in the region except Wellington city and the Masterton district, where active modes were more popular.

Within the region, public transport was most popular to workplaces in Wellington city – 20.4 percent of commuters in Wellington city took public transport. Lower Hutt followed, with 18.3 percent. For those living in Wellington city, public transport use was most common in Berhampore West, Kilbirnie West–Hataitai South, and Newtown East.

Area units along a railway line – such as Tawa Central, Tawa South, and Waterloo East – had a higher reliance on trains. People who used trains mostly travelled to central Wellington, the main destinations being Thorndon–Tinakori Road, Lambton, and Willis Street–Cambridge Terrace.

Figure 5
Percentage of commuters who took a train to work on census day
By area unit of usual residence in Wellington region
2013 Census

Graph, Percentage of commuters who took a train to work on census day, by area unit of usual residence in Wellington region, 2013 Census.

Active commutes more popular than public transport in Wellington city

In Wellington city, active modes of transport are the next-most common after car commutes (44,070 people), and are more popular than public transport (17,706 people). In 2013, 21,912 people walked, jogged, or cycled to work – a 54.7 percent increase since 2001. This is a shift from public transport being preferred to active in 2001. For the region as a whole, active modes increased 2.6 percent.

For people living in the inner city, active modes are the most popular way to commute. For example, on census day in 2013, Willis Street–Cambridge Terrace had 2,943 walkers, joggers, and cyclists, compared with 582 car commuters. Mt Victoria West had 1,977 active commuters and 726 car commuters.

Figure 6
Percentage of commuters who biked, jogged, or walked to work on census day

By selected area unit of usual residence in Wellington region
2013 Census

Graph, Percentage of commuters who biked, jogged, or walked to work on census day, by selected area unit of usual residence in Wellington region, 2013 Census.

Working from home most common for people in agriculture, forestry, and fishing

Not all employed people commute to work. Around 6 percent of employed people in the Wellington region worked at home on census day in 2013. This proportion was much higher for people working in agriculture, forestry, or fishing (35.5 percent); rental, hiring, and real estate services (13.4 percent); and professional, scientific, and technical services (11.4 percent).

Professional, scientific, and technical services most common industry in 2013

In the Wellington region, the most common industry was professional, scientific, and technical services, followed by public administration and safety. These were also the top industries in central Wellington city.

Table 2
Percentage of workers in the top industry of area units in Wellington region

For area units with largest numbers of workplace addresses
2013 Census 

Area unit of workplace address Top industry Percentage of workers in that industry
Lambton
Willis Street–Cambridge Terrace
Professional, scientific, and technical services 25.4
16.3
Thorndon–Tinakori Road Public administration and safety 41.0
Hutt Central
Paraparaumu Central
Masterton Central
Kilbirnie East
Johnsonville Central
Upper Hutt Central
Retail trade 23.0
23.9
27.6
21.1
24.0
34.5
Porirua Central
Adelaide
Epuni West
Health care and social assistance 20.1
73.4
81.5
Petone Central
Gracefield
Manufacturing 21.3
23.4
Kelburn Education and training 53.0
Source: Statistics New Zealand
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