Tas­man’s eco­nomic growth slows

Nelson Mail - - News - Cherie Sivi­gnon cherie.sivi­[email protected] Brad Olsen, In­fo­met­rics econ­o­mist

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.’’

BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

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.

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