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Growth streak continues for Thames-Coromandel economy

Coromandel Peninsula | Tue March 06, 2018

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Business activity is ramping up in the Coromandel, creating jobs and helping drive the economy to one of its strongest quarters yet.

Infometrics' latest quarterly report, covering October-December 2017, reveals the Thames-Coromandel economy grew 3.7% in 2017. That compares to GDP growth rates of 2.7% across Waikato and 2.8% for New Zealand overall.

Investment by local businesses is opening up better employment opportunities and our unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in ten years at 3% (compared to 4.7% nationally).

Mayor Sandra Goudie says job creation is a highlight of the recent report.

"Our council is serious about creating vibrant, strong communities and stimulating economic development; so it's particularly positive to see business activity helping to drive the growth and create jobs in our region," Mayor Sandra says.

"That's why we are here to help our business sector wherever we can. We've recently reviewed our economic development work programme to identify key economic and social projects that tie in with this Government's focus on regional growth and housing and accommodation issues.

"We've also updated our Economic Development Strategy 'Towards 2028' to support entrepreneurs and business people who create jobs by establishing and investing in business on the Coromandel."

Against the backdrop of better employment conditions, local households are spending more, with the value of electronic card spending on retail purchases rising 8.7% over the year.

And new dwelling consents in Thames-Coromandel grew 14% to their highest level in a decade.

"These numbers confirm what we know, that more people are choosing to live and holiday here," Mayor Sandra says.

"It does mean there has been a bigger workload for our building team to keep up with our legislative processing times of 20-working days, which we are meeting."

Strong gains for primary sector businesses

Infometrics senior economist Benje Patterson says many parts of Thames-Coromandel's primary industries are also enjoying strong prices.

In particular, returns are looking up for the forestry and aquaculture sectors.

Dairy farmers are also on track for their second consecutive profitable year, following heavy losses in 2015 and 2016," Mr Patterson says.

Regional tourism spending hits records

A 5.8% lift in visitor spending last year boosted total visitor spending in our region to a record $360m in the year to December 2017 (up from $340m a year ago). Commercial guest nights climbed 5.7% to a record level.

Infometrics warns growth in tourism activity could slow over the next few months, due to storm damage on SH25 Thames Coast Rd following the January storm and king tides.

"Since the January event we have been working with affected businesses and sectors to help get them back on their feet, and to make sure visitors know the Coromandel (and Coromandel Town) is open for business," Mayor Sandra says. "We just hope the next quarterly figures show that the weather event didn't have too hard an impact on our economy."

Highlights: Thames-Coromandel District Quarterly Economic Monitor December 2017

·         GDP up 3.7% to $1,075 million for the year to December 2017

·         Unemployment rate falls to its lowest rate since 2008 at 3%

·         An additional 332 jobs were created - mainly in accommodation and food services, construction, retail and manufacturing

·         New dwelling consents grew 14% to the highest level in a decade

·         Total visitor spending climbs 5.6% to a record $360m.

·         Traffic flows in Thames-Coromandel increased by 7.7% in 2017


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