The Market

by Simon Lord

last updated 30/05/2018

GDP estimates show widespread regional economic growth

by Simon Lord

last updated 30/05/2018

10 May 2018 – The latest GDP estimates from the MBIE show New Zealand’s regions to be growing strongly over the past five years with parts of the South Island standing out in particular

Fastest-growing regions per capita over 5 years

The latest release of MBIE’s experimental Modelled Territorial Authority Gross Domestic Product (MTAGDP) estimates shows growth in 64 out of 66 territorial authorities in the year to March 2017. The MTAGDP series aligns with Stats NZ’s Regional GDP series for 15 regional council areas. It also provides a breakdown of territorial authority GDP by industry sectors for the years 2000 to 2016.

MBIE has provided a summary of key results with the latest release, highlighting exceptional areas of growth, such as Queenstown-Lakes which has experienced +68.5 percent GDP growth over the five years from 2012 to 2017.

Key results

The annual nominal GDP figures for territorial authority regions align with Stats NZ’s annual nominal GDP figures for regional council regions. Nominal or current price GDP does not control for changes in prices.

  • Annual nominal (non-inflation adjusted) GDP increased in 64 of the 66 territorial authority regions for the year ended March 2017. Only Central Hawke’s Bay had a small decline of -2.2 percent, while Wairoa was unchanged.
  • Waipa and Kawerau had the strongest nominal annual GDP growth to the year ended March 2017 at +12.0 and +11.8 percent respectively, almost twice the New Zealand growth rate of +6.2 percent.
  • Over a five year period, 59 of the 66 regions experienced nominal GDP growth. Queenstown-Lakes had by far the strongest growth, up +68.5 percent. Other regions that had very strong growth over this period include the Canterbury districts of Selwyn (+38.9 percent), Waimakariri (+38.7 percent), and Christchurch City (+34.7 percent). Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty, grew +36.5 percent, and growth was also very strong in the Northland regions of Whangarei (+34.3 percent) and Kaipara (+34.1 percent).
  • As a combined Regional Council and Territorial Authority, Auckland also grew a very strong +34.6 percent over the five years to March 2017, as did Marlborough (+34.9 percent). Carterton (+33.4 percent) was the stand out district for the Wellington region.

The statistics reinforce the appeal of the regions for franchise buyers, who are increasingly finding that some of the best business opportunities lie outside the main cities where lower overheads can mean higher profitability. Read more

Per capita GDP

Another measure, GDP per capita (nominal), controls for population growth and allows for a better comparison of GDP values between regions.

  • Annual nominal GDP per capita for the year ended March 2017 increased in 64 of the 66 territorial authority regions. Central Hawke’s Bay had the largest fall (-4.0 percent) while Wairoa (also in the wider Hawke’s Bay region) fell -0.7 percent.
  • Kawerau (+9.6 percent), Westland (+9.3 percent) and Waipa (+9.1 percent) had the strongest GDP per capita growth for the year ended March 2017. Westland’s per capita growth was accentuated by nearly flat population growth. Invercargill and Gore also had strong per capita GDP growth rates (8.8 and 8.4 percent, respectively) accentuated by flat population growth.
  • Over a five year period, 54 of the 66 regions experienced GDP per capita growth. The strongest growth was seen in Queenstown (30.8 percent) and Marlborough (30.2 percent). Though the strongest, Queenstown’s GDP per capita growth was heavily offset by large population growth of +28.8 percent over the five years. Other regions growing robustly in GDP per capita were Christchurch (+25.4 percent), Waitomo (+24.1 percent), Whangarei (+24.0 percent), and Invercargill (+23.8 percent).
  • Wellington City ($112,700) had easily the largest GDP per capita. It was followed by South Taranaki ($78,600) and New Plymouth ($72,900), and then by Queenstown-Lakes ($66,900) and Christchurch ($65,600).
  • The territorial authorities with the lowest per capita GDP in the year ended March 2017 were Kapiti Coast ($22,200), Waimakariri ($26,400), South Wairarapa ($26,700), and Horowhenua ($27,700).

Click on the tables on the right to enlarge and see more detail.

The MBIE says that its MTAGDP estimates provide robust, readily available regional economic data at the territorial authority level, supporting research and policy development by more finely distinguishing between the different regions of New Zealand. The series has been released annually by MBIE since 2015.

For more results, or to download the data and find tools to explore the data visually, visit the MBIE website visit the MBIE website here.

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