Nelson remains the number one region for economic growth for the third quarter in a row, while Otago was the biggest mover.

The ASB and Main Report Group Regional Scoreboard for June 2017 saw Nelson claim the top spot again with a five-star rating.

The ratings - released every three months - are based on measures such as employment, construction, retail trade, and house prices.

"Nelson is on a hot streak," the report said.


"This quarter Nelson performed strongly across most measures, but the retail sector stood out. Retailers across the region had a bumper quarter, with Nelson topping the national statistics for annual retail growth sales," it said.

Spending on major purchases was up in the region and the building pipeline was also full, meaning Nelson could go a full year at the top of the table.

Tasman took the second spot, moving up three places from the previous quarter and grabbing a five-star rating from ASB.

"Like Nelson, consumer confidence is high and likely reflects the solid performance of the region's horticulture, fishing and tourism industries," the report said.

"Indeed, Tasman job growth over the past year is running at close to 4 per cent. On this basis, we expect the good times to keep rolling for the region over the rest of 2017," it said.

Otago was the fastest mover among New Zealand regions, going 8 places from 12 in the previous quarter to 4 this quarter.

ASB said behind the rapid ascent is a strong generation of jobs and increased retail spending.

Northland, Manawatu-Whanganui and Hawke's Bay were other big hitters this quarter.


At the bottom of the scale, Waikato, Auckland, Southland and Canterbury floundered.

Waikato was bought down by a weak quarter for the housing market, but ASB said the regions performed well in other sectors and don't expect them to stay down for long.

Auckland hit a fresh low with the report citing housing, building consents and infrastructure capacity constraints. However, the job market remained strong.

Southland was in the doldrums in second to last place. The report cited a decrease in the number of people in work and a tumble in the housing market. ASB said, however, that the lift in milk prices and similar dynamic in the sheep sector should see Southland rise again.

Canterbury took last place for the second quarter in a row due to a slowdown in a broad range of growth sectors. ASB said population growth should bring about a rebalance and dairy prices should boost activity in rural areas.

Across the country, new car sales and retail sales were rated as "steaming" with five stars thanks to the World Masters Games, the Lions Tour, record migration and more space for additional cars in Auckland.

Wages were rated as "needing an energy boost" with only two stars. ASB said record high levels of immigration appears to be keeping overall wage growth low.

Also floundering was the housing market, rated two stars. House sales are down 23 per cent compared to the previous years while house price growth has also slowed.