Northland has one of the best performing economies in the country and has come through the post-lockdown period better than most, with the construction, tourism and primary sectors leading the charge, new research shows.
The Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor shows that Northland's economic activity rose 1.4 per cent in the March 2021 quarter compared with last March.
Provisional estimates from Infometrics will see Northland's year-end activity sit 0.7 per cent higher that 12 months ago, even as the national economy contracted by 3.0 per cent.
Infometrics senior economist and director Brad Olsen said strong construction activity is supporting activity, alongside boosts from the tourism and primary sectors.
''Northland continues to grow, with health enrolments - a proxy for population growth - increasing 1.8 per cent per annum in the March 2021 quarter. Working from home trends across the country, coupled with affordability concerns, makes Northland an attractive option for New Zealanders to consider basing themselves in,'' Olsen said.
''Filled jobs in Northland partially reflect this, rising 0.1 per cent in the March 2021 quarter for Northland residents, compared to a small national decline.
''More people and jobs for Northlanders has helped keep money going through the tills, with Marketview data showing a 1.9 per cent pa rise in consumer spending over the last 12 months – the second best spending performance across all regions. Strong spending outcomes will continue to support local businesses.''
He said the growth in the economy and the population has also kept pressure on the construction sector, with a strong rise in residential consents in the latest quarter, led by a strong result in Whangārei.
''The 73 per cent pa growth in the latest quarter was the second-best growth in New Zealand, slightly below Gisborne's growth,'' Olsen said.
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''Northland has also been showcasing its talents to other New Zealanders exploring their backyard, with Northland being one of only two regions to see an increase in spending over the last 12 months. Domestic travel has focused on drive-based locations, and the nearby Auckland market have been captivated by Northland over the last few months.''
Primary sector activity has also kept the economy in a strong place, with better commodity prices for forestry, horticulture, meats and dairy products all boosting underlying activity.
''The dairy payout (for Northland farmers) is estimated to rise to $624 million for the current season – a $46m increase on last season which will support local spending and investment.''
The summer of 2020/21 provided a boost to a number of regional economies even as traditional tourism hotspots remained hard hit by the loss of international tourism.
"Domestic travel, strong construction activity, and a more robust labour market have helped support regional economies in recent months, as businesses press ahead with work and look to hire more workers, which in turn is assisting Kiwi households to keep spending.
"However, supply chain disruptions and the lingering effects of Covid-19 are weighing on our economic recovery," Olsen said.