Economic update for the year to June 2019

Economic update for the year to June 2019

Posted on Friday 23 August 2019

The latest quarterly Infometrics figures show that although the Nelson Tasman economy expanded by 2.2% in the year to June 2019 (provisional GDP estimates) there are signs of slowing growth, with a long slow slowdown expected for the country as a whole over the next few years.

Part of the weaker economic outlook is driven by concerns for the tourism sector amid lower Chinese arrivals and declining global demand. Guest nights in Nelson-Tasman decreased marginally, down 0.6%pa and tourist spending increased by less than 1%pa.  Tourist spending is being dragged down by a decline in international tourist spending, which accounts for a third of total tourism spending in the region. On the upside, domestic tourism spending is still climbing.

Health enrolments give us an indication of population growth, and there was an increase of 1.1% in the year to June 2019. Although this is slower than the previous year it is still increasing demand for accommodation and driving up house values. Average house values increased by 13% over the June 2019 year, well above the national average of 1.4%.

This demand is echoed in the 12.6% increase in the number of housing consents since last year - 750 in the 12 months to June 2019, much higher than the 10-year average total of 550.  By comparison the national figures only increased by 5.8% for the year.

There was also a surge in the total value of non-residential consents which reached nearly $100m for the year, well above the 10-year average of $73m.

Unemployment in Nelson-Tasman remains low with an average rate of 3.8% over the 12 months to June 2019, compared with the national average of 4.1%.   This is a little higher than a year previously (3.6%)

The number of Jobseeker Support recipients in Nelson-Tasman grew by 7.8% in the June year, compared to 9.6% nationally, but the increase is largely due to softening of benefit eligibility and sanction policies rather than actual labour market conditions.

Wellbeing Radar

While it is important know how we are performing economically, wellbeing is more than just that. To get a full picture of how we are doing as a region we also need to look at other things – our environment, health etc. 

The Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy project is developing a wellbeing framework that covers Nelson Tasman and Marlborough, but the following spider graphs give an insight into this full picture for Nelson and Tasman only:

Wellbeing radar2

Compared to New Zealand we’re doing well in many areas: 

  • Social Connections:  Internet access and Truancy rate are both better than average.
  • Jobs and Earnings/Work: our NEET rate is very good – very few of our young people have no direction; our unemployment rate is also very good; although some parts of the region have a challenge with a lot of workers in declining industries.
  • Housing: while our home affordability is very challenging and we have a lower home ownership rate, our homes are not overcrowded.
  • Civic Engagement and Governance:  we have good turnout for local and national elections. 

But there is room for improvement in other areas: 

  • Environment: while our CO2 emissions are not bad especially in the city area, our waste diversion rate is fairly poor.
  • Income and Consumption: the Benefit Dependency Rate, Median Household Income and Personal Earnings are all much lower than NZ average.
  • Health: Mental Health is rated very poor in parts of the region although good in others; the same is true of Life Expectancy;
  • Safety: again the Crime Rate is rated very poor in some parts and very high in others; the Road Fatalities Rate is particularly bad in Nelson compared to Tasman which rates quite well.  The Workplace Injury Rate also needs improvement.

About this data

The Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) commission regular reports from Infometrics to track a range of economic measures across the region and to get a better understanding of the local economy.

The reports allow the NRDA to target efforts and see results. The reports have also been procured to provide easy-to-access tools around this type of data to assist businesses with their investment decision-making.

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