Southland's economic confidence on the rise
Southlanders are significantly more confident in the region's economic future than three months ago.
A survey by Westpac, released yesterday, shows regional economic confidence in Southland is at 53 per cent, compared with only 15 per cent in June.
Regional economic confidence is the balance of survey respondents expecting good, as opposed to bad, economic times in their region during the coming year.
Only Cantabrians are more confident than Southlanders, with a net 60 per cent of households expecting the Canterbury economy to pick up in the next 12 months.
Regional economic confidence in Otago is at 3 per cent, slipping from 12 per cent in June.
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the massive change in the outlook of Southlanders could be attributed to two factors - gravity-defying dairy prices and the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter rescue deal.
Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Hay agreed the Tiwai deal had played a big part in changing attitudes in the region. Now the "blackness" hanging over the smelter had been resolved, Southlanders were beginning to feel secure in the region again, he said.
However, as an export-reliant economy, Southland authorities needed to ensure vital infrastructure, such as the roading network, was maintained, he said.
The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index, also released yesterday, shows Southland consumer confidence rose strongly between June and September.
Southland consumer confidence is second-highest in the country at 117.8, above the national average of 115.4.
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