Bay’s econ­omy sec­ond on re­gional score­board, ki­wifruit a big player

Bay of Plenty Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A boom­ing ki­wifruit in­dus­try, strong em­ploy­ment growth and grow­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence has seen the Bay of Plenty take the No 2 spot in the coun­try’s lat­est Re­gional Eco­nomic Score­board.

The Bay of Plenty’s econ­omy con­tin­ues to thrive as the re­gion climbs one place in the lat­est ASB Re­gional Eco­nomic Score­board, sit­ting just be­hind Otago but keep­ing its five-star rat­ing.

The score­board takes into ac­count the lat­est quar­terly re­gional sta­tis­tics and ranks the eco­nomic per­for­mance of New Zealand’s 16 re­gional coun­cil ar­eas.

Rat­ings are up­dated ev­ery three months and are based on 11 mea­sures, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ment, con­struc­tion, re­tail trade and house prices.

ASB chief econ­o­mist Nick Tuf­fley said the re­bound in the PHOTO / FILE ki­wifruit in­dus­try after chal­lenges from the Psa out­break was “a re­ally good suc­cess story” for the re­gion.

“So far this sea­son the in­dus­try

Takes the lat­est quar­terly re­gional sta­tis­tics and ranks the eco­nomic per­for­mance of New Zealand’s 16 re­gional coun­cil ar­eas.

The fastest-grow­ing re­gions gain the high­est rat­ings, and a good per­for­mance by the na­tional econ­omy raises the rat­ings of all re­gions.

Rat­ings are up­dated ev­ery three months, and are based on 11 mea­sures, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ment, con­struc­tion, re­tail trade, and house prices. is set­ting ex­port records, and that will bring in good earn­ings that sup­port the wider re­gion,” Tuf­fley said.

Strong em­ploy­ment growth of 6.5 per cent an­nu­ally con­trib­uted to the re­gion’s climb on the score­board, he said.

Tuf­fley said the Bay of Plenty was also one of only five re­gions that ex­pe­ri­enced a pop­u­la­tion growth above 2 per cent.

“It was un­sur­pris­ing to see Bay con­sumers up­beat, with the con­sumer con­fi­dence read­ing sit­ting sec­ond high­est in the coun­try.

“All up, we ex­pect the Bay econ­omy to re­main on the front foot over the sec­ond half of 2018,” Tuf­fley said.

Seeka chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Franks said the com­bined vol­ume of ki­wifruit har­vested and pro­cessed had been a “record”, although not all fruit was able to be eco­nom­i­cally sold by Ze­spri.

“Seeka has had a very good New Zealand ki­wifruit har­vest and our per­for­mance to grow­ers [was] very good. We are now fo­cused on our av­o­cado har­vest,” Franks said.

He said there were still pock­ets of Psa in the catch­ment which grow­ers had to man­age to min­imise any im­pact.

“Largely, grow­ers are over the top of the dis­ease, and it is hav­ing no vol­ume im­pact, although there is a cost.”

Franks said there was “no doubt” the ki­wifruit in­dus­try was help­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.

“Sim­ply there is a lot more ac­tiv­ity,” he said.

Franks said while the in­dus­try had “trav­elled well”, there had been some “pres­sure points” in the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing labour and sup­ply of labour at peak times in the sea­son.

He said the new gold va­ri­ety had a com­pressed har­vest tim­ing, which led to peak de­mand for labour and in­fras­truc­ture.

“The ma­jor­ity of the gold fruit must be har­vested in a three-week win­dow which has pro­vided both labour and in­fras­truc­ture chal­lenges.

“And there is more fruit in­creases com­ing and a lack of real sup­ply chain in­no­va­tion,” he said.

Ze­spri’s chief grower and al­liance of­fi­cer, Dave Court­ney, said the ki­wifruit in­dus­try was an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to re­gional eco­nomic growth and com­mu­ni­ties. A re­port from the Uni­ver­sity of Waikato in 2017 showed the in­dus­try could cre­ate an­other 29,000 jobs and tre­ble GDP con­tri­bu­tion to over $6 bil­lion by 2030, due largely to the ex­pan­sion of SunGold.

He said the 2018 sea­son was in full swing with New Zealand ki­wifruit ex­ports set to reach a “record vol­ume” of about 150 mil­lion trays.

“The growth in vol­ume gives us the op­por­tu­nity to serve more con­sumers around the world than ever be­fore, and our teams are fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing growth in sales vol­ume while sus­tain­ing as much value as we can.”

Pri­or­ity One chief ex­ec­u­tive Nigel Tutt said the lo­cal econ­omy was not just suc­cess­ful in a “cou­ple of sec­tors” but it was pleas­ing to see “all parts of the econ­omy per­form­ing well”.

Tutt said the Bay had ex­pe­ri­enced five years of strong growth and he ex­pected to see that con­tinue. “Our econ­omy is much more ma­ture than it was a few years ago, so we’re able to sus­tain the great growth we’ve had.”

Seeka chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Franks said the com­bined vol­ume of ki­wifruit har­vested and pro­cessed had been a “record”.

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