Economic growth helps boost Bay firms' outlook

By Patrick O'Sullivan, Jordan Bond

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An increase in GDP reflects growing confidence about doing business in the Bay.
An increase in GDP reflects growing confidence about doing business in the Bay.

Business confidence is strong in Hawke's Bay on the back of a growing economy.

Figures 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 throughout the region, including a 6.7 per cent growth in total GDP in the past two years.

Wayne Walford.
Wayne Walford.

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said the figures reflected a growing confidence about doing business in the Bay.

"It's a fantastic result. It's translated into more positive attitudes from people. We're seeing the narrative about Hawke's Bay changing, and more people and businesses are seeing it as a more positive prospect," Mr Walford said.

The GDP increased to $6.59 billion in the 2015 financial year, up from $6.41 billion in 2014 and $6.18 billion in 2013.

GDP per capita had risen 15 of the past 16 years and was now $41,323.

Mr Walford said businesses had felt this surge in activity over the past few years.

"Generally, people are doing well and there's a buoyancy around the market. We're having some great events, a growth in employment, businesses are employing staff and seeing growth in sales."

Mr Walford said strong levels of manufacturing and its related industries had played a part in the year's figures, and he was expecting another "fantastic" wine season.

Business Hawke's Bay chief executive officer Susan White said GDP was an indicator of well-being.

"When it increases, it's an indicator that we are working smarter, improving our business practices and know-how, making investment in activities such as innovation and technology that enable us to produce higher value products and service," she said.

"It is very pleasing to see the strong growth in our regional economy - it does indicate that our key industries are on the up.

"While we remain below the New Zealand average on the GDP per capita, if we sustain growth at a rate higher than the rest of New Zealand we will see the gap eventually reduce."

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.

Canterbury overtook Wellington for the second highest value.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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