QEM September 2021

Impacts of the Delta outbreak are being felt in Tairāwhiti, with Infometrics data showing economic activity in the September quarter fell by 3.3 per cent.

The latest Infometrics quarterly economic report said while this result slowed economic growth in Tairāwhiti back to 4.3 per cent per annum, it was still ahead of the national average of 3.7 per cent.

Infometrics estimates that 68 per cent of the local workforce could operate during Alert Level 4, compared to 63 per cent nationally, however the lockdown still restricted economic momentum.

Marketview data shows an 8.6 per annum decline in quarterly card spending compared to September last year. On an annual basis, consumer spending increased by 4.7 per cent which is in line with the national average.

Primary sector activity remains firm, with commodity prices holding at high levels. In September, the ANZ commodity price index was up 17 per cent in NZ dollar terms.

Gisborne-Wairoa Federated Farmers president Toby Williams described the current sheep and beef pricing as an early Christmas present for pastoral farmers in the district.

However, the effects of COVID-19 were still infiltrating meat processing plants, he said.

Forestry prices have slipped on the back of growth in China and Evergrande concerns. Higher costs across the primary sector for transport, shipping, feed and labour is having an effect, with broad labour market constraints and price pressures.

Eastland Wood Council chief executive Philip Hope said forestry still remained a strong industry and would be a key driver of our economy.

Employment activity continues to recover, with growth of 3.6 per cent in filled jobs for Tairāwhiti residents in the September 2021 quarter. This helped push annual average growth to 3 per cent – five times the national average of 0.6 per cent. This has been led by roles in the primary sector, administration and hospitality.

House values are up by 32 per cent in the last year and the average house now costing $617,000. Work is underway to address the supply shortage, with 47 consents in the September quarter, lifting the annual consents to 81 per cent higher than the previous year. The quarterly increase in construction was more than double the number of residential consents a year ago, and more than double the 10-year average.

The total tourism expenditure in the district increased by 17.8 per cent to about in the year to September, compared with a national increase of 4.2 per cent. The eastern and northern parts of the North Island continue to have the strongest regional tourism activity, as domestic tourists concentrate their trips nearer to home.

Trust Tairāwhiti regional tourism manager Adam Hughes says local tourism operators have reported strong business travel through the weekdays.

“The strength in spend underpinned the domestic leisure travel market through what has traditionally been a softer period. This positive result will be needed in the coming months as the COVID-19 Protection Framework is introduced to region.”