COVID-19 Delivers a Blow to the Nelson Tasman Economy

COVID-19 Delivers a Blow to the Nelson Tasman Economy

Posted on Wednesday 26 August 2020

The Nelson Tasman economy has suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Quarterly Economic Monitor released by Infometrics today.

The data shows that in the June 2020 quarter, the Nelson Tasman regions GDP was 12.5% lower than the same quarter in 2019, which is in line with the national contraction of 12.6%. The number of Jobseeker Support recipients in the region rose by 19.5%.

“This demonstrates the significant economic impact the region has suffered under COVID-19. The data is not unexpected but we are paying close attention to these signals to assist with our recovery planning. Of particular interest was the decline in the value of commercial building consents which are down 19% compared to 8.8% nationally” said Mark Rawson, CEO of Nelson Regional Development Agency.

He added that “on the ground we are hearing some cautious optimism from local businesses about the early stages of recovery. We know there has been an uptake in domestic tourism and local spending, aided by the government’s investment through the wage subsidy and cashflow lending schemes which have cushioned the initial economic impact.”

“With Auckland now at Level 3 and the rest of the country at Level 2, businesses are facing more uncertainty and disruption as a result of COVID-19. Auckland being out of action is expected to have a significant impact on our domestic tourism market and create further uncertainty for already hard-hit industries such as events, hospitality and tourism.”

Ali Boswijk, CEO of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, says the report highlights what we’ve all known for some time; that COVID-19 is going to continue to hit the region hard economically and many businesses in the region are dealing with on-going uncertainty. “Nelson Tasman has been very quick to respond to this economic impact and we know that our communities are strong and resilient but now is the time for central government to step up their investment into the region. We still do not have complete clarity on economic recovery initiatives implemented to-date, such as shovel-ready projects, in terms of where the investment is being made. This makes it very difficult to plan with certainty and create opportunities for the region.”

The Nelson Tasman Economic Response & Regeneration Action Plan which was launched in June outlines a 7 point action plan to accelerate the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19 including a focus on business and investment attraction, stimulating local spending and domestic visitation as well as targeted business and innovation support. The action plan was developed by the Project Kōkiri collaboration formed in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.