Building aids growth in Tasman
The Tasman district economy grew by 2.3 per cent in the year ended March 2017, thanks in part to a buoyant construction industry.
In its first annual report for Tasman District Council, economic consultancy Infometrics says gross domestic product (GDP) in the district measured $1654 million.
The tourism industry contributed $150m towards GDP in the district, providing 9.1 per cent of its economic output, up from 8.1 per cent 10 years ago. The sector employed an average of 2712 people in 2017, up from 2401 in 2016 and 1623 in 2000.
However, despite the rise of tourism, it was the construction industry that made the largest contribution to overall growth between 2016 and 2017, climbing 13 per cent from $106m to $120m.
The construction sector also made the biggest contribution to employment growth, adding 122 jobs over the year.
A council staff report on the Infometrics information points out that construction is one of the six largest industries in the district. The other five are: agriculture, forestry and fishing manufacturing property operators and real estate services retail trade professional, scientific and tech services. Council strategic policy manager Sharon Flood last week presented the staff report to the TDC community development committee and said those six industries contributed just over half of the district’s GDP and provided twothirds of its employment.
‘‘So, that’s quite notable,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s relatively labour intensive in those areas.’’
Flood said the district also had an ageing labour force ‘‘so that’s something we need to think about as we plan’’.
While the earnings statistics for 2017 were not yet available, the Infometrics report says in the year to March 2016, the mean annual earnings in Tasman district was $46,870, lower than the New Zealand mean of $57,780.
The Tasman district growth rate of 2.3 per cent for the year to March 2017 was also below the national result of 3.6 per cent. It was lower than the Nelson city rate, too, where the economy grew 3.8 per cent over that same period, according to the staff report.
After the meeting, Tasman mayor Richard Kempthorne said he was not surprised there was a difference in growth rates between the district and Nelson city.
‘‘In Nelson, there’s a lot of the regional offices for Government ministries and agencies,’’ Kempthorne said, adding the city also had the main police station and hospital. ‘‘Tasman has more primary-based businesses.’’
The report says two-thirds of the Tasman district workforce in 2017 was employed in ‘‘semi or low-skilled’’ occupations.
However, Kempthorne queried that determination.
‘‘Anyone farming-based is lowskilled, which I think is a nonsense,’’ the mayor said. ‘‘It’s difficult to understand the detail of that.’’
The Nelson Regional Development Agency engaged Infometrics to provide the information. As well as an annual report, Infometrics is also set to provide smaller updates quarterly.
After 16 months apart Jax, the wandering St Arnaud dog, was happy to see his Dunedin owner Douglas.