Think tank the Maxim Institute says some parts of New Zealand are in social and economic decline and it's time to stop fighting it.
Instead, the institute says policies should focus on managing that decline and its effects on communities.
Kaipara mayor Greg Gent disputes the grim prediction, and says his district has growth potential though Aucklanders retiring to towns like Dargaville.
And Gisborne's mayor, Meng Foon, says his city's population is not shrinking and isn't about to.
Maxim Institute chief executive Alex Penk says policies should focus on managing regional economies decline "There are such a thing as ghost towns and rather than try for economic growth that actually is not going to happen, we would be far better to have the facts on the table."