Tauranga - the 'place where it's all happening'

By Jordan Bond

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Aerial shot of the Tauranga waterfront and central business district. Photo/George Novak
Aerial shot of the Tauranga waterfront and central business district. Photo/George Novak

Business confidence is high across the Bay on the back of strong economic figures.

Newly released data from Statistics New Zealand show gains in two key measurements for the business sector.

Both total and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are at all-time highs, with GDP growing 8 per cent in the last two years.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the figures were pleasing but he wasn't surprised.

"Tauranga's the place where it's all happening at the moment. We've got growth in jobs as well as economic activity, and we can't see this picture changing anytime soon," said Mr Gregec.

"We've had boom times here for the 12 months to 2 years, and we're still in that very buoyant, high growth phase."

Total GDP rose to $12.29 billion for the 2015 financial year, up from $12.02 billion a year earlier and $11.37 billion in 2013.

Mr Gregec said Bay businesses fought through the couple of years where the outlook wasn't so rosy.

"We had a period where things were looking a lot more pessimistic, where we had the Rena crisis and the kiwifruit impact - that's all behind us now, and people are in a growing, positive mindset."

Mr Gregec said migration from Auckland was high and he expected this to continue.

"We have good activity across most local sectors - horticulture, manufacturing, building, healthcare, export, and even retail - with the only noticeable dips occurring in dairy. Other than that, it's pumping," he said.

"There is of course another side to the coin, which is that roading and residential infrastructure is being pushed, schools and social services are under strain, and we have challenges to create and maintain the type of vibrant community and cultural heart that more established cities might take for granted."

Nationwide, 11 of 15 regional economies grew in the 2015 financial year.

Auckland and Canterbury had the largest GDP increases in the country, at $5.7 billion (6.9 per cent) and $2.3 billion (7.3 per cent) respectively, with Canterbury overtaking Wellington for the second highest value.

Decreases were recorded in Southland, at $0.5 billion (9.9 per cent), Waikato, at $0.4 billion (2.2 per cent), Taranaki, at $0.3 billion (3.3 per cent), and the West Coast, at $0.1 billion (5.0 per cent).

These decreases reflected a fall in agricultural activity.

New Zealand's total GDP was $241.2 billion, increasing $8.7 billion (3.7 per cent) from 2014.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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