New data shows Northland bucking economic trends with "phenomenal" spending figures and one leading business figure saying people are "spending like there's no tomorrow".
Data shows spending in Northland up 14.8 per cent on a year ago and is said to show locals supporting locals by spending within the region, a domestic tourism surge and strong primary production.
The second lockdown in Auckland that turned Northland into an island was believed to be a factor in concentrating spending inside the region.
Northland business leaders say the region is well positioned to benefit in jobs and spending from "shovel-ready" projects intended by the Government to be part of the country's economic recovery.
The new figures from economic consultancy Infometrics show growth in Northland was at 3 per cent while all of New Zealand saw a contraction of -3.2 per cent.
Northland's strong growth was second only to the Tasman region (5.1 per cent) and ahead of Hawke's Bay (2.7 per cent), Gisborne (2 per cent) and Nelson (2 per cent).
Of the 16 regions counted, seven showed growth. The worst-performing region was Auckland, which saw growth contract at 6.1 per cent.
Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen - originally from Whangārei - said Northland had been constrained from spending during the three months to June because of the lockdown. "This shows the bounceback the North has seen."
Other figures told their own story, said Olsen, with car purchases leading a jump in car registrations of 9.1 per cent in the North in the September quarter. He said it showed confidence on the part of those in the region to make major investments.
He said the numbers showed Northland is positioning itself well compared with the rest of the country.
There was a staggering 41 per cent increase in domestic tourism spending in September, against 8.3 per cent for August and 27 per cent for July.
The coming summer months would likely see the boom continue as the region generally attracted people on holiday but it wouldn't benefit from foreign tourists visiting New Zealand, said Olsen.
Not only were New Zealanders spending their holidays in Northland but more people were moving there. Health enrolments were up, broadband figures showed a population increase and new figures to be released tomorrow would show Whangārei the fifth most popular part of the country for those moving.
He said Northland was also enjoying the benefits of a strong primary production sector exporting dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables.
Northland's chamber of commerce - NorthChamber - president Tim Robinson, who runs the Bernina Northland Sewing Centre, said the data supported the experience in his business and what he had heard from others across Northland.
Robinson said the increase in Northland's population reflected the region's comparative isolation and distance from Covid-19 outbreaks.
There was also a sense people had been "spending like there's no tomorrow" to ease the "sense of dread".
"We sold so many high-end machines coming out of lockdown it wasn't funny. We had people in the shop saying 'I've got $20,000 burning a hole in a hole in my pocket - I'll have a new machine thank you very much'."
NorthChamber vice-president Sue Wallace, of Northland Scaffolding, said the "shovel-ready projects" and a booming construction sector boded well for employment and wages.
"I believe Northland is in an enviable position compared to other regions. It's balls to the wall."