Hawke's Bay is the biggest mover in the ASB/Main Report Regional Economic Scoreboard, jumping to from three stars to four from the previous quarter.

The March quarter report said the region performed strongly across a range of measures.

In the previous quarter the only category that held Hawke's Bay back was jobs, which had since picked up over the summer.

"Indeed, with the horticulture and viticulture sectors' robust performance, we suggest the normal surge in seasonal employment was larger than usual this year," the report said.


The housing market was also healthy, with sales activity "particularly buoyant" and last month's announcement there were enough water users signed up for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme to go ahead, provided it could find an institutional investor, was another reason for optimism.

Annual employment grew 1.8 per cent, retail sales 6 per cent, house prices 9 per cent, new car sales 13 per cent and construction 27 per cent.

Northland led the quarter's growth, jumping two places to be third equal, with spillover from Auckland's housing market and strong tourism credited for much of the lift.

"These factors were undoubtedly behind the strong retail sales, double-digit house price growth and extra house building activity."

Auckland was declared to be "booming inside and out", sitting second on the scoreboard for the fourth consecutive quarter and achieving a five-star rating for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Also with a five-star rating for four quarters in a row was Bay of Plenty, which achieved the country's top rank in construction, house prices and retail sales. Thanks to the dip in dairy, Waikato went from four stars to three.