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Andrew Beer

This chapter examines regionalism in Australia and New Zealand and argues there are both profound similarities and differences between the two in their approach to regions, and the communities that live within them. In both nations neoliberal policies over the past three decades have eroded government support for regional policies, with decision makers favouring national economic growth over a concern for the spatial distribution of economic opportunities. In Australia this policy framework has been enacted within a federal system of government, while New Zealand has a unitary system of government. In both instances, regional policies have emerged episodically and have not found systematic translation to programmes and actions. The chapter goes on to demonstrate that in Australia over the past 20 years governments have given greater political priority to questions of regional well-being, and this renewed focus has emerged as a response to voter dis-satisfaction outside the capitals. It argues that this new political landscape has generated new opportunities for regions to gain access to resources and make representations to central governments for resources.