Report: Marlborough's economy in fine form

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014

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Marlborough's economy out-performed New Zealand's over the past 10 years and criticism of Marlborough's economic performance is unfounded, a Marlborough District Council report says.

The report says that, overall, Marlborough had outperformed the New Zealand average in terms of GDP growth between 2002 and 2012.

The past four years had been especially difficult for Marlborough. However, it had been insulated by its economic diversity, the report said.

Marlborough appeared to be in recovery and was showing positive signs of increasing economic efficiency.

The report will be discussed at the council's regional development and planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

It was commissioned after Marlborough's economy was criticised as "under-performing" at last year's aquaculture industry conference in Nelson in October, and prepared by independent economic anthropologist Amanda Lynn.

Where Marlborough had not outperformed the New Zealand average, it had outperformed its closest neighbour Tasman-Nelson, the report said.

"From 2007, Marlborough's performance has been negatively influenced by drought, wine industry consolidation, the global financial crisis, and two Christchurch earthquakes. The economic cost of the Marlborough earthquakes and the Interislander ferry failure is not yet fully known."

The Marlborough economy had shown increasing diversity over the 10 years from 2002-12.

"Though Marlborough has a robust primary sector, its secondary sector has grown considerably to the point where manufacturing is now the lead industry in the Marlborough economy."

It said Marlborough had coped better than New Zealand as a whole with the 2007-08 global financial crisis, and this resilience was due significantly to the diverse and competitive nature of the Marlborough economy.

However, a combination of circumstances did lead to a decline in performance of the Marlborough economy compared to the national average in the lead-in to 2010.

Key areas for Marlborough in the future were sustainable growth, high-quality jobs, higher individual earnings, higher qualifications and population shape, the report said.

Data suggested focusing on the development or transfer of technologies to reduce low-wage employment and increasing quality jobs supported by higher qualifications, rather than a focus on creating more low-wage jobs, it said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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