Dairy­ing al­ters GDP sta­tis­tics

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NARELLE HEN­SON

Waikato’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) took a hit af­ter last year’s drought, say lat­est fig­ures from Sta­tis­tics New Zealand.

Re­gional GDP fig­ures show Waikato sit­ting at about $17.9 bil­lion. That’s down from $18.1b the year be­fore.

Sta­tis­tics NZ statis­ti­cian Ains­ley Smith said the move­ment in the num­bers was ‘‘a dairy story’’. ‘‘The drought was a big story in 2013. ‘‘That had a big im­pact on dairy farm­ing. That was a big driver of the de­crease.’’

But he said Waikato wasn’t the only re­gion to suf­fer the ef­fects of the drought.

‘‘It was one of eight of the 15 re­gions that we pub­lish that de­clined,’’ Smith said.

That in­cluded Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes’ Bay, Gis­borne in the North Is­land, and Marl­bor­ough, the West Coast and South­land in the South Is­land.

Waikato’s con­tri­bu­tion to New Zealand’s $211.6b GDP was 8.5 per cent.

That was slightly down from the take in 2012 of 8.7 per cent. But de­spite the drop, Waikato held fourth po­si­tion in the re­gional stakes. Can­ter­bury came third at $27.8b, Welling­ton sec­ond at $28.5b and Auck­land claimed top spot with $74.7b.

Waikato Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Perry said that was stan­dard for the Waikato re­gion.

She also said the im­pact of the drought was the big­gest fac­tor in where the num­bers sat for this year. But she said GDP per capita was in­ter­est­ing.

‘‘GDP per capita is on a down­ward trend. That’s in­ter­est­ing.

But it’s still pos­i­tive . . .we are quite healthy when you look at some of the oth­ers [re­gions].’’ Waikato’s GDP per capita is at $42,968. She said the im­pact of the present dry spell could be a wee bit of a con­cern. ‘‘Long-term it could hin­der us. ‘‘At the mo­ment we are quite se­cure with the farm­ing sec­tor sup­port­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing. The ram­i­fi­ca­tions haven’t re­ally hit us.’’

Agri­cul­ture still con­trib­uted the most to GDP last year, at just over $2b, mak­ing up 12.5 per cent of the re­gion’s GDP.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing fol­lowed at $1.9b while forestry, fish­ing, min­ing, elec­tric­ity, gas, wa­ter and waste ser­vices con­trib­uted about $1.6b to the lo­cal econ­omy.

Waikato continues to lead in agri­cul­ture, mak­ing up a fifth of the na­tion’s agri­cul­tural in­dus­try, while Can­ter­bury con­trib­utes 17.5 per cent and South­land 10 per cent.

Over the pe­riod from 2007 to 2013, Waikato’s econ­omy in­creased by 22.1 per cent, slightly be­hind the na­tional growth of 24.5 per cent.

In the same pe­riod agri­cul­ture grew by 77 per cent, man­u­fac­tur­ing dropped by 11 per cent, and forestry, fish­ing, min­ing, elec­tric­ity, gas, wa­ter and waste ser­vices grew by just over a third.

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