Kel Sanderson


Senior Economist

  • MAgrSci (Hons) (AgEcon)


Kel has been with BERL for over 40 years, and still gets a kick out of delving into what drives the shape of the country, the use of resources like land and water, and how that affects peoples’ economic wellbeing. He gained his experience by doing this in New Zealand, and overseas in Tanzania, Belize, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Kel has worked on a variety of projects, from helping to set up the Federation of Māori Authorities (FoMA) and Newmans Air/Ansett NZ, to working on the economics to secure funding for the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Kel’s strengths are definitely sound analysis within the ‘big picture’, applied to transport and development issues across New Zealand.

His work is often based around geography, transport and logistics, which is often an excuse to work widely on fun stuff. These projects include smart urban developments like Peter Cooper’s Britomart; Christchurch’s potential economy if it became a 21st Century iconic destination; the industrial land needs of the Upper North Island; and the interface between the transport needs of the Airport to East Tamaki area with other parts of Auckland City, the Region, and New Zealand. Kel is particularly interested in the interactive links between a City’s amenity, the level of migration, population and property values and thus rates revenues. This gives an interesting platform to investigate the economics of major facilities and services like long haul air access, a City’s transport solutions and property development.

Kel’s experience in Malaysia, Belize and Tanzania, and with FoMA members’ Māori land holdings, along with his AgriScience Masters degree, allows Kel to get involved in economic analyses in the primary sector and the Māori economy. He has worked on opportunities in the Pacific Islands’ ocean economy.  In New Zealand he has recently worked on use of land and water in regions as diverse as Northland, Canterbury and Central Otago, and also worked on pasture renewal benefits, improved calf feeding with Queen of Calves, and arable production.


In his spare time, Kel enjoys spending time with his family, doing weekend DIY renovation, and joining a few thousand other Kiwis postponing their cardiac events each year riding the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

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