main pic for print A_HBT18153807.JPG Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford says the region is attractive to Hawke's Bay "ex-pats wanting to come back. Photo / Duncan Brown.


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Dominick Stephens, chief economist for Westpac, speaking at Napier City Council's monthly business breakfast talk back in June.


In economic terms Hawke's Bay households are now the most confident in the North Island, as the regional economy garners a reputation as everyone's "cool friend".

A net 41 percent of Gisborne and Hawke's Bay households expect their regional economies to prosper over the coming year, according to the Westpac-McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey for the September 2018 quarter.

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"This is an improvement on the 32 per cent posted for the June quarter, making these regions the most optimistic in the north island," Westpac Chief Dominick Stephens said.

"Gisborne and the Hawke's Bay remain steadfastly buoyant even as confidence in other regions tanks.

"This is probably to do with a buoyant housing market, with both house prices and the volume of sales continuing to outperform. A bumper horticultural and grape growing season is also likely to have added to the air of positivity, which will have been further underpinned by commitments made by the Government on investment and spending."

Westpac-McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay remained unchanged at 105 in the September quarter.

"Consumers in the region are mostly pessimistic about the outlook for the economy as whole and are even less optimistic about their financial circumstances over the next 12 months," said Stephens.

"That said, they are feeling a little bit better about their current financial circumstances and this could be one of the reasons why more households in the region think that now is a good time to buy a large household item."

The Westpac-McDermott Miller surveys come just a week after the ASB Bank gave the Hawke's Bay economy with a five-star rating, ranking it at the nation's third best performer.

Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford said local businesses were in a strong position.

"This region is now very attractive to ex-pat Hawke's Bay people looking for opportunities to come back and settle. Technology and the continued development of the region as a family-friendly positive lifestyle centre is certainly playing into the hand of those spending many hours per week in congestion.

"There has been a lot of reference to the recent Country Calendar profiling of Hawke's Bay.

"The strength in housing prices, the base line security for many businesses, does provide a sense of comfort.

"Apart from the recent rain impact for sheep and crop farmers, the other industries are quietly rubbing their hands expecting strong outcomes from the season.

"It's almost as if Hawke's Bay has grown into the cool young adult that everyone wants to have as their friend."