Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Holiday shoppers splash out

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Paymark records show Wairarapa shoppers spent 6.4 per cent more this December than that in December 2014.
Paymark records show Wairarapa shoppers spent 6.4 per cent more this December than that in December 2014.

Wairarapa shoppers splashed out more in December than the previous year, according to Paymark figures.

Paymark records show Wairarapa shoppers spent $47.7 million across the Paymark network in December - 6.4 per cent more than in December 2014.

Sandy Taute, of Kuripuni Gifts Lotto and Postshop in Masterton, said many people came to her store to buy small things to send overseas.

"People come in for things that are maybe a little different and that are light so they post well," she said.

"That's a comment that people often make, that we have a lot of variety.

"If you've got friends or family members overseas, you can't just send them a map of New Zealand every year.

"Tea towels are popular and some grannies like to send hankies to their friends ... Essentially, light things that say, 'I'm remembering you.'"

Ms Taute tried to stock New Zealand-made gifts where possible. "I like to support New Zealand products and customers appreciate it, especially if they're sending the gifts overseas."

Nationwide, Kiwis spent an extra $397 million over December compared with the previous year. The growth for the entire country was up almost 8 per cent to $5.493 billion.

Paymark suggested several factors were behind the overall increase in spending, including the Reserve Bank cutting the official cash rate to 2.5 per cent per annum in early December.

This flowed on to lower mortgage rates, as well as continued growth in gross domestic product (GDP).

Lower petrol prices were offset by strong accommodation figures as New Zealand experienced record tourist numbers.

The Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, Auckland, Northland and Southland saw the strongest spending growth in the country with the Bay of Plenty breaking into double-figure growth at 10.1 per cent over the same month in 2014.

Meanwhile, spending was static in Taranaki (0.2 per cent) and on the West Coast (0.4 per cent).

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