Build­ing aids growth in Tas­man

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - CHERIE SIVIGNON

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.

LUZ ZUNIGA/NEL­SON MAIL

Af­ter 16 months apart Jax, the wan­der­ing St Ar­naud dog, was happy to see his Dunedin owner Dou­glas.

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