Nelson Tasman reels in surprisingly strong results in the latest Quarterly Economic Monitor for August - September 2020.

Nelson Tasman reels in surprisingly strong results in the latest Quarterly Economic Monitor for August - September 2020.

Written by Charlotte Lang

Posted on Friday 20 November 2020

The data is demonstrating that Nelson Tasman has bounced back from the COVID-19 lockdown and is doing well on many fronts.

September quarterly performance is strong, and the year to September overall, which includes both the national lockdown and the Auckland lockdown, is showing that we were doing better than the country as a whole.

Our strength in the Primary sector has underpinned this recovery. Despite this positive performance over the last quarter, we are cautiously optimistic because of the prospect of a number of headwinds in the short-medium term as we enter the traditional peak visitor period it remains to be seen how much increased domestic travel can do to offset the lack of international visitors.

Also as the region in NZ who generates the greatest proportion of GDP from exports, the current economic challenges being created in our core consumer markets is likely to have some impacts.

“We are cautiously optimistic about the short-and long-term effects of COVID on our region. While there have been some good outcomes for local businesses, there is a mixed recovery. We must remember that some people are still doing it tough and are facing huge uncertainty”, says Mark Rawson, Chief Executive for the Nelson Regional Development Agency.

GDP for the September 2020 quarter is up 3.4% compared to 2019. For the whole year to September, GDP is down only 1.2% compared to a 3.3% loss for Total NZ which is well ahead of previous forecasts.

Thanks to our locals and the NZ visiting public, consumer spending is booming, with the September 2020 quarter being 10% up on the September 2019 quarter. Again, the whole-year result to September shows only minor losses with a spending decline of only 0.3%, compared to a 2.7% decline for the national economy.

Although spending in the region is up 3.4% on last quarter, there are still concerns about how visitors are spending. While many are getting out and about, enjoying the local pleasures, a lot are opting for self-guided experiences and self-facilitated tours, making guided tour operators anxious for what the future will bring.

Earlier this year, an economic forecast completed by Info metrics painted a grim picture for the region with almost 1 in 10 jobs expected to be lost. The impacts of COVID on employment continue to be felt as the labour market remains relatively tight, with the average unemployment rate over the year to September 2020 at 3.4%, compared to 4.4% nationally. As expected, Jobseeker numbers are still increasing from 2,678 people in the March 2020 quarter, to 3,841 in the current quarter.

This means there is still a challenge for businesses seeking to recruit some types of staff. With a busy season of harvesting ahead for the region, this figure will be one to watch as local growers have their opportunity now to secure staff off the back of the Christmas holiday season, from February onwards.

Overall, we are pleased to see results to show that the region is bouncing back. We are keeping positive about the future and what lies ahead of us, albeit with a similar level of uncertainty that is experienced nationwide and won’t be going away anytime soon.

For the full report visit:

For more information, please contact: Mark Rawson

About Project Kōkiri

Project Kōkiri is a collaboration to respond to and mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the Nelson Tasman region.

The aim is to enable an economic response and regeneration that will stimulate the economy, protect and create new jobs and accelerate investment into the region.

The response has been initiated and led by the Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, the Nelson Regional Development Agency, the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, Mana Whenua and the regionally based Government agencies including MSD, MBIE and MPI.

The work of Project Kōkiri is integrated into the wider response to COVID-19 including the regions Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) group.

Project Kōkiri acts as the “war room” of the economic response and regeneration working to cushion the immediate impacts of the economic fallout, fuel our recovery efforts and rebuild a more resilient and sustainable economy for the people of Nelson Tasman.