Economy best in North Island

South Wairarapa booming

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 15:05 12/03/2014

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South Wairarapa has the fourth- best-performing ecomony in New Zealand and the best in the North Island, according to an economic performance report.

South Wairarapa climbed 36 places to fourth spot for districts in the Berl Rankings Report 2013, which measures the economic performance of cities, districts and regions.

Carterton increased two places to 10th on the list. Masterton dropped 21 places to 48th out of 66 districts.

The report attributes South Wairarapa's booming economy to strong growth in employment.

In the five years to 2013, employment in South Wairarapa has grown, on average, by 2.6 per cent a year and GDP has grown 4.3 per cent.

The population has also grown to 9530, more than 8 per cent during the 10-year period.

South Wairarapa mayor Adrienne Staples says the relocation of City Care to the district has been a big contributor to the employment growth.

"Primary production is doing well so there are more jobs there but primarily it is City Care and the extra full time jobs that they brought here," Ms Staples says.

City Care, which the council contracts to provide most of its services, created 20 fulltime equivalent positions in the district, Ms Staples says.

The dramatic upswing in South Wairarapa's performance is a clear indication that the district is "through the recession", Ms Staples says, with tourism and events in the region very strong.

It is not just in Greytown and Martinborough where things are humming, with businesses in Featherston also enjoying better times, he says.

The BERL reports says that though there was a slight reduction in employment in Carterton, GDP grew by 5.1 per cent due to an increase in output from the agriculture sector. The district generated $310 million in GDP in 2013, $64m of which was from agriculture and $60m from wood product manufacturing.

Meanwhile, a healthy economy makes for happier ratepayers, according to a survey of South Wairarapa residents.

The NRB Communitrak survey in November last year measured satisfaction with council services and facilities, rates and customer service. It also compared the council with similar local authorities in New Zealand.

The people surveyed were generally more satisfied with services provided by their council than they were three years ago.

South Wairarapa District Council chief executive Paul Crimp says the information gathered through the survey would be used in the upcoming planning for the council's Long Term Plan and Annual Plan.

See swdc.govt.nz for the full report on the council's website.

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