Good signs in regional economic activity data
13 September 2016, Steve Breen, The Gisborne Herald
A SNAPSHOT of economic activity for the year ended June 2016 identified a number of positive trends.
Statistics NZ information indicates that the region’s total population has been growing quietly since 2002 at an annual average growth rate of 0.3 percent. Over the past year, the area’s population increased by 400 or 0.8 percent. Over the past two years, the region has recorded an overall net international migration gain (102 for the year ended June 2016, versus 51 for the previous June 2015 year).
House sales in Gisborne City for the year ended June 2016 totalled 641, up 143 or 28.7 percent on the previous year. The median house selling price in the city was recorded at $248,500 in June this year, compared to $196,000 in June 2015 (REINZ).
Total retail sales increased in nominal current dollar terms by an estimated 2.7 percent to a level of approximately $620 million (estimate based on Statistics NZ base figures), with new motor vehicle registrations rising by 14.3 percent (NZTA).
The following trends occurred in the region over the year ended June 2016, with regard to consented new building activity (Stats NZ):
• A 41.1 percent increase in the total number of new dwellings consented and an 18.9 percent increase in their combined value.
• A 46.2 percent increase in the volume of new commercial-industrial buildings consented and a three-fold increase in their combined value.
• A 14.7 percent increase in new farm buildings consented but a 9.6 percent decrease in their combined value.
Growth in the commercial-industrial building sector was particularly apparent over the past year in the hospitality and industrial sectors.
Statistics New Zealand figures indicate the strongest (above 25 percent) longer-term GDP growth in the Gisborne region since 2008 was recorded for utility services, fishing/forestry/mining, business services, health care services, wholesale/retail trade and manufacturing sectors, in that order. The region’s agricultural sector has grown overall by about 22 percent since 2008.
Overall, total nominal (current dollar terms) GDP for the Gisborne area is presently estimated at an annual $1.75 billion. This figure represents 0.7 percent of national GDP (Statistics NZ).
Steve Breen is chief executive of economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti.