West Coast economy grows by $79m

17 November 2022
Development West Coast
Economic activity on the West Coast grew 3.4% over the year to September, outpacing the national average of 2.6%.

The region’s economy increased by $79m to $2,371m, according to Infometrics latest provisional GDP estimates.

“Many aspects of the Coast economy remain resilient to the economic headwinds sweeping the country,” Development West Coast (DWC) chief executive Heath Milne said.

The region’s housing market is bucking the national trend with house prices rising on the West Coast despite falling prices nationwide.

Average house values on the Coast increased 6.4% to $344,253. In comparison, house prices across the country fell by 2% to $964,203.

The West Coast led the country in growth of residential building consents. 277 residential consents were issued for the year to September, a 42.8% increase compared to 7% nationally.

Consumer spending on the West Coast rose 7% in the year to September.

“However, with inflation at 7.2% much of this spending growth has been driven by price rises rather than an increase in real underlying spending,” Milne said.

The West Coast's dairy payout for the 2021/2022 season is expected to be approximately $450m, $70m higher than last season, assuming that production levels from last season are maintained.

Tourism spending fell 0.7% in the September 2022 year following a steep fall in the June 2022 quarter compared with the same quarter the year before. Guest nights in the region also fell, down 8.9% in the September 2022 year.

“International tourism has started to recover now that borders have reopened,” Milne said.

“With our new tourism campaign (‘Pretty Great, Actually’) we’re hoping to entice a few more people from across the ditch, while also not forgetting all of the New Zealanders who have been our saving grace during COVID.”

Over the year to September 2022 there has been 212 new filled jobs on the West Coast. Job numbers increased from 14,535 in September 2021 to 14,747 in September 2022, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The increase in jobs brought the unemployment rate down to 3.6% for the September 2022 year.

“The past year has seen job gains across a range of industries including construction, healthcare, professional services, admin services and manufacturing,” Milne said.

“We should be seeing far more job growth, but there are currently hundreds of positions sitting vacant.

“The Coast is a special place that attracts a special kind of person and we’re on the hunt for a few more of them to fill some great jobs and join the Coast community,” Milne said refereeing to DWC’s ‘Cut out for the Coast’ campaign.

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