Early indicators show the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown was softer in Whanganui than it was nationwide, says Economic development agency Whanganui & Partners.
In the March 2020 quarter, national GDP fell 1.6 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand. It was the first quarterly drop since the December 2010 quarter and the largest fall since March 1991.
The drop in GDP growth was expected by most economists and is expected to be significantly greater in the next quarter, said a Whanganui & Partners spokesperson
Results from the September 2020 quarter, published in December, will offer the most information about New Zealand's recovery, the spokesperson added.
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"From the beginning of February through to the first week of June, consumer spend in Whanganui was down by 6.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. Spend in New Zealand as a whole was down 15.9 per cent for that same period."
Whanganui & Partners said the May report from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) found house values in Whanganui continued annual growth at a rate above the national average.
April tourism figures show Whanganui ranked ninth out of 31 regions for the least impacted annual tourism spend.
The number of people on the Jobseeker benefit in Whanganui rose by nearly 15 percentage points less than the national-level rise.
Whanganui & Partners said while there is limited data about economic activity in June, the most recent consumer spend reports show an increase in consumer spend following the lockdown.
"Consumer spend is an important way to track confidence in the local economy, and we've been really pleased to see Whanganui consistently ahead of the pack. For the week ending June 14, spend in New Zealand was up 3.7 per cent compared to a 13.6 per cent increase in Whanganui.
"This is going to be a challenging year for the economy, but the data we have indicates that our businesses and households have good reason to expect a shorter, softer impact than what's indicated at a national level."