Canterbury growth tops NZ regions

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 13:25 28/03/2014

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Canterbury may well have a rock-star economy, recording the highest growth - 6 per cent - of all regions in the year to March 2013.

Six per cent growth is regarded as high and the sort of growth common in Asian economies.

"Canterbury's increase was led by the Christchurch rebuild with the construction industry the leading contributor," regional economic statistics manager Peter Gardiner said.

Statistics New Zealand is now collecting data to estimate regional gross domestic product (GDP) - the measure of all goods and services produced.

In the past it has produced only a national GDP figure.

Canterbury's growth in the March 2013 year was four times that of Wellington, which had 1.5 per cent GDP growth, nearly twice that of Auckland, which enjoyed growth of 3.3 per cent, and three times the national average of 2 per cent.

However, growth was not common to all regions. Eight of 15 regions had shrinking economies in the 2012-13 year. Hawke's Bay, the West Coast and Gisborne showed the largest contractions.

Because of Canterbury's strong growth in the last seven years it is snapping at the heels of Wellington, which is still the second-largest economy in the country behind Auckland.

But 6 per cent growth is not the highest Canterbury has recorded in recent times.

It was stronger in the year to March 2008 at 7.5 per cent and it was 6.3 per cent in the year to March 2012, the year after the February earthquake.

Canterbury is now producing a lot more than it did seven years ago, the data released today shows.

It produced $27.8 billion of goods and services in the March 2013 year.

That is one-third more than it did seven years ago.

The three areas of big expansion over seven years have been agriculture, manufacturing and the professional, scientific, technical and support services.

In the past couple of years the construction industry, expanding markedly because of the rebuild, has been making its mark on the regional economy.

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- Fairfax Media

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