A booming kiwifruit industry, strong employment growth and growing consumer confidence has seen the Bay of Plenty take the number two spot in the country's latest Regional Economic Scoreboard.

The Bay of Plenty's economy continues to thrive as the region climbs one place in the latest ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard, sitting just behind Otago but keeping its five-star rating.

The scoreboard takes into account the latest quarterly regional statistics and ranks the economic performance of New Zealand's 16 regional council areas.

Ratings were updated every three months and were based on 11 measures, including employment, construction, retail trade and house prices.


ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the rebound in the kiwifruit industry after challenges from the Psa outbreak was "a really good success story" for the region.

"So far this season the industry is setting export records, and that will bring in good earnings that support the wider region," Tuffley said.

Strong employment growth of 6.5 per cent annually contributed to the region's climb on the scoreboard, he said.

Tuffley said the Bay of Plenty was also one of only five regions that experienced a population growth above 2 per cent.

"It was unsurprising to see Bay consumers upbeat, with the consumer confidence reading sitting second-highest in the country.

"All up, we expect the Bay economy to remain on the front foot over the second half of 2018," Tuffley said.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said the combined volume of kiwifruit harvested and processed had been a "record", although not all fruit was able to be economically sold by Zespri.

"Seeka has had a very good New Zealand kiwifruit harvest and our performance to growers very good, we are now focused on our avocado harvest," Franks said.


He said there were still pockets of Psa in the catchment which growers had to manage to minimise any impact.

"Largely, growers are over the top of the disease, and it is having no volume impact, although there is a cost."

Franks said there was "no doubt" the kiwifruit industry was helping the local economy.

"Simply there is a lot more activity," he said.

Franks said while the industry had "travelled well", there had been some "pressure points" in the industry, including labour and supply of labour at peak times in the season.

He said the new gold variety had a compressed harvest timing, which led to peak demand for labour and infrastructure.


"The majority of the gold fruit must be harvested in a three-week window which has provided both labour and infrastructure challenges.

"And there is more fruit increases coming and a lack of real supply chain innovation," he said.

Zespri's chief grower and alliance officer, Dave Courtney, said the kiwifruit industry was an important contributor to regional economic growth and to communities.

Courtney said a report from the University of Waikato in 2017 showed the industry could create another 29,000 jobs and triple GDP contribution to over $6 billion by 2030, due largely to the expansion of SunGold.

He said the 2018 season was in full swing with New Zealand kiwifruit exports set to reach a "record volume" of around 150 million trays.

"The growth in volume gives us the opportunity to serve more consumers around the world than ever before, and our teams are focused on delivering growth in sales volume while sustaining as much value as we can."


Courtney said this year's growth was driven by the recovery in green volumes and the continued expansion of SunGold, as supply growth was accelerated to meet demand.

SunGold was commercialised in 2010 and provided the kiwifruit industry with a recovery pathway from Psa with its "greater tolerance and fantastic on-orchard and in-market performance", he said.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the local economy was not just successful in a "couple of sectors" but it was pleasing to see "all parts of the economy performing well".

Tutt said the Bay of Plenty had experienced five years of strong growth and he expected to see that continue next quarter and beyond.

"Our economy is much more mature than it was a few years ago, so we're able to sustain the great growth we've had."

ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard:


-Takes the latest quarterly regional statistics and ranks the economic performance of New Zealand's 16 regional council areas.
-The fastest growing regions gain the highest ratings, and a good performance by the national economy raises the ratings of all regions.
-Ratings are updated every three months, and are based on 11 measures, including
employment, construction, retail trade, and house prices.