Timaru's economy booming

20:59, Feb 26 2013
timaru growth graph
Timaru's economic growth

Timaru's economy has grown at nearly twice the national average, with 4.4 per cent growth.

Latest statistics sourced by Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) show the local economy grew 4.4 per cent in the year till March 2012, compared with New Zealand's economy at 2.3 per cent.

ADBT chief executive Wendy Smith said the results reflected the confidence in the region.

"These results concur [with] and back up other statistics we have been receiving. Confidence in the business community is strong, based on the back of a well-performing and diverse agricultural sector with added-value processing."

ADBT commissions regular economic reports to check district performance and help with further analysis and business investment. The report, prepared by Infometrics, showed Timaru's economy has grown by an average 3.2 per cent a year over the last decade, putting the district 13th of 66 territorial authorities in New Zealand.

"This information provides further confidence in the market and confirms that South Canterbury is faring extremely well with strong growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)."


The report showed manufacturing was responsible for 25.4 per cent of the GDP, with agriculture second at 13 per cent. Retailing accounted for six per cent and construction provided 3.9 per cent.

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Tony Howey said manufacturing would include the processing raw materials from agriculture such as Clandeboye.

"I had the pleasure of escorting the Governor-General around the room at a business function this week and the general theme was one of confidence from business owners, with the exception of retailers.

"As a region we are very much reliant on the primary industry."

Federated Farmers South Canterbury president Ivon Hurst said growth was on the back of a strong farming sector.

"Last March through to August sheep prices took off enormously. Dairy prices have been good, if we didn't have dairy we wouldn't have the affluence in the economy."

On-farm income had a multiplier of three to four times once it worked its way through the economy, he said: "This financial year could be a completely different story with sheep prices low. High sheep prices last year helped halt the number of conversions to dairy."

The Timaru Herald