New Zealand GDP up 1.6 percent

18 June 2021
Development West Coast
March quarter figures show a better than expected result for New Zealand, while the West Coast's economic recovery faltered with the loss of international tourists.

March quarter GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP) for New Zealand rose by 1.6 per cent in the March 2021 quarter, following a 1 per cent fall in the December 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said on Thursday.

The official numbers for the regions have not yet been released. However provisional West Coast GDP figures for the March quarter from Infometrics suggested a 6.7 per cent decrease from the December quarter.

Development West Coast (DWC) Chief Executive Heath Milne said the West Coast’s economic recovery faltered at the start of the year with the loss of international tourists over the usual peak season.

“Despite doing a good job attracting Kiwis, the reality is domestic visitors can’t fill the massive spending hole left by international tourists.”

Tourism spending on the West Coast fell by 24.5 per cent from the December quarter to the March 2021 quarter, largely due to the struggles in Glacier Country.

“While the provisional March quarter figures don’t make great reading, there are some positives on the horizon,” Mr Milne said.

“Workloads for the West Coast’s construction industry appear to be growing, with significant increases in the issuance of residential and non-residential building consents in both the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters.”

The March quarter saw a 45.2 per cent increase in residential consents and a 44.4% increase in non-residential consents, both well above the national averages.

“And an improved dairy payout is expected to deliver an additional $29m to the region’s dairy farmers for the 2020/21 season,” Mr Milne said.

“We are also starting to see some positive trends in overall consumer spending on the West Coast.”

Data from MarketView shows consumer spending on the West Coast for the four weeks to June 13 was 16.1 per cent higher than the same period two years ago, prior to the pandemic. This was the highest increase in the country.