Tasman’s economic growth slows
The gross domestic product (GDP) for Tasman district increased 2.8 per cent in the year to September 2018, well down on a hike of 4.3 per cent in the year to March 2018.
The figures are revealed in the latest quarterly economic report for the district by economic consultancy Infometrics, which was engaged by the Nelson Regional Development Agency.
Infometrics economist Brad Olsen said growth of 2.8 per cent in Tasman, which was just below the national rate of 2.9 per cent, was still strong.
He suspected that export earnings and retail spending could be factors in the lower growth compared with the March quarter results.
Export earnings in the latter part of 2018 generally ‘‘did tip back a little bit from the gains earlier in the year’’, Olsen said.
Meanwhile, the growth in retail spending for Tasman district dropped from 7.2 per cent in the year to March to 5.6 per cent in the year to September.
Olsen said the Infometrics team was keeping watch nationally on where ‘‘consumer spending is going to go’’.
Despite lower growth in retail spending and GDP, the economy in Tasman district was ‘‘pretty strong’’, he said.
‘‘The regions generally are growing faster than the metro areas. The regions are becoming powerhouses in their own right.’’
Annual average unemployment in Tasman district was at 2.8 per cent in September, up from 2.4 per cent a year earlier but well under the national rate of 4.3 per cent. There was also a 4.5 per cent decrease in Jobseeker Support benefit recipients in the district.
The Infometrics report puts Tasman’s GDP at almost $1.74 billion for the year to September.
House sales in the district totalled 776 in the year to September, a 2.5 per cent increase on the previous year, which outperformed the national result of a 0.6 per cent decrease.
The average house value in the district was up 7.1 per cent at $572,268 over the September 2018 year.
Total tourism expenditure of about $304m in the year to September was up from $296m a year earlier, but the 2.7 per cent increase was lower than the rise nationally of 8.2 per cent. Visitors stayed a total of 719,456 nights in Tasman district in the year to September, down from 766,607 a year earlier.
Fewer residential building consents (76) were issued in the September 2018 quarter compared with the same quarter the previous year (110).
Traffic flows in Tasman district dropped 3 per cent in the year to September, likely due to the reopening of State Highway 1 around Kaikoura. The highway was closed by the November 2016 earthquake, and traffic was diverted via St Arnaud.
‘‘The regions generally are growing faster than the metro areas . . . [and] becoming powerhouses in their own right.’’
Tourist spending in Tasman district in the year to September 2018 was up 2.7 per cent from a year earlier, but this was lower than the national rise, and visitors stayed fewer nights.