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Regional Gross Domestic Product: Year ended March 2016
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  30 March 2017
Commentary

Overview of New Zealand’s economy 2011–16

From 2011–16, New Zealand’s economy expanded (in nominal terms) despite events that affected the economy at both national and regional levels. These events included the ongoing effects of the global financial crisis, Canterbury earthquakes, and drought. The latter part of the period was also characterised by fluctuations in agricultural commodity prices (particularly milk products), falls in oil and coal prices, and increasing immigration and tourism, all of which can interact to drive differences in regional economic performance.

This year’s regional gross domestic product release includes a provisional industry breakdown for 2015 along with provisional regional totals to 2016. Between 2011 and 2015, the strongest performing industries were financial and insurance services (up 35.2 percent); construction (up 33.7 percent); transport, postal, and warehousing (up 30.2 percent); and primary manufacturing (up 30.0 percent).

Dairy production dominates New Zealand’s agriculture industry in some regions. In 2014, high milk prices contributed to agriculture’s strong performance. However, milk prices fell significantly in 2015, negatively affecting the value of production. In 2016, continued low milk prices affected the performance of the agriculture industry across several regions, including Southland, Waikato, Canterbury, and the West Coast.

The value of primary manufacturing increased strongly in 2015 (15.4 percent), driven primarily by dairy product manufacturing. One contributing factor was that raw milk prices fell further than dairy manufacturer’s output prices, increasing the dairy manufacturing industry’s contribution to GDP in current price terms by $1.8 billion in 2015. Construction and the transport, postal, and warehousing industry also recorded strong increases in 2015 (up 12.5 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively).

The graph below illustrates national gross domestic product for selected industries: transport, postal, and warehousing; dairy cattle farming; primary manufacturing; and construction, for the years ending March 2011 to 2015. 

Graph, National gross domestic product for selected industries, Year ended March, 2011–15.  

Background to regional gross domestic product

Regional GDP measures the contribution and make-up of economic activity for the regions of New Zealand. Regional GDP measures the value of production in the prices prevailing at the time (inflation is not removed). The series is consistent with published national accounts for industry and total GDP.

The time series available for regional GDP covers the March 2000–16 years, with an industry breakdown provided for 2000–15. Industry contributions for 2015 are to be treated as provisional. We also present provisional regional totals for 2016.  

The full series of data is available on Infoshare and is available as a csv file in the ‘Downloads’ box of this release on our website.

The next sections provide key points on the economic characteristics and composition of the 15 regions. See the Excel tables and infographic for further information.

Provisional estimates 2015 and 2016

The industry figures provided for 2015 are based on industry financial survey data, however, they are not derived from balanced accounts. Balanced national accounts are available until 2014. The release of these 2015 industry contributions is an initial step towards improving the timeliness of the balanced national accounts from which Regional GDP is derived. Balanced national accounts for the year to March 2016 will be available for incorporation in next year’s release. Provisional estimates of regional totals are provided for the year to March 2016. 

Northland

  • From 2011–16, Northland’s economy increased 18.2 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent).
  • The 2011–16 increase was led by primary manufacturing, followed by the owner-occupied property operation industry. The contribution of agriculture to Northland’s GDP fell 3.7 percentage points.
  • In 2014, Northland’s GDP increased 8.7 percent, driven by the agriculture industry (mainly dairy cattle farming), which increased 45.1 percent.
  • In 2015, Northland’s economy increased 3.0 percent, led by primary manufacturing. Agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming) decreased 35.9 percent.
  • In 2016, Northland’s GDP increased 3.9 percent, led by rental, hiring, and real estate services; owner-occupied property operation; and construction. 

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Northland region, year ended March.

Auckland

  • From 2011–16, Auckland’s economy increased 31.1 percent (well above the national movement of 23.8 percent).
  • The 2011–16 increase was broad-based and led by financial and insurance services; rental, hiring and real estate services; and professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • In 2014, Auckland’s GDP increased 5.4 percent, driven by financial and insurance services; wholesale trade; and professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • In 2015, Auckland’s economy increased 7.6 percent, led by financial and insurance services; rental, hiring, and real estate services; wholesale trade; and construction.
  • In 2016, Auckland’s GDP increased 6.0 percent. This was led by rental, hiring, and real estate services; professional, scientific, and technical services; financial and insurance services; and transport, postal, and warehousing. 

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Auckland region, year ended March.

Waikato

  • From 2011–16, Waikato's economy increased 20.6 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Waikato’s contribution to GDP decreased 0.2 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was driven by manufacturing; rental, hiring, and real estate services; and electricity, gas, water, and waste services. However, the agriculture industry decreased 42.8 percent.
  • In 2014, Waikato’s GDP increased 11.1 percent, primarily due to increases in the agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming) and manufacturing industries.
  • In 2015, Waikato’s economy increased 0.1 percent, driven primarily by a decrease in agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming), and offset by an increase in manufacturing.
  • In 2016, Waikato’s GDP increased 3.9 percent, led by increases in rental, hiring, and real estate services, and manufacturing, with agriculture continuing to fall.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Waikato region, year ended March.

Bay of Plenty

  • From 2011–16, Bay of Plenty’s economy increased 21.7 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent).
  • The 2011–16 increase was driven primarily by rental, hiring, and real estate services; construction; and owner-occupied property operation.
  • In 2014, Bay of Plenty’s GDP increased 4.4 percent, led most notably by agriculture, up 24.7 percent.
    • In 2015, Bay of Plenty’s economy increased 1.9 percent. Broad-based industry increases were led by construction; manufacturing; and electricity, gas, water, and waste services, while agriculture decreased sharply, down 30.9 percent.
  • In 2016, Bay of Plenty’s GDP increased 7.7 percent, making it the strongest performing regional economy. The increase was underpinned by strong performances across the professional and administrative services, and agriculture industries, primarily kiwifruit.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Bay of Plenty region, year ended March.

Gisborne

  • From 2011–16, Gisborne’s economy increased 14.8 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Gisborne’s contribution to GDP dropped 0.1 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was broad-based, led by rental, hiring, and real estate services; manufacturing; and transport, postal and warehousing.
  • In 2014, Gisborne’s GDP increased 3.3 percent, due to primary production – most notably from agriculture, and forestry and logging.
  • In 2015, Gisborne’s economy increased 4.6 percent, mainly due to primary manufacturing.
  • In 2016, Gisborne’s GDP increased 2.6 percent with increases in fishing, forestry, and mining offset by a fall in agriculture.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Gisborne region, year ended March.

Hawke's Bay

  • From 2011–16, Hawke’s Bay’s economy increased 15.0 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Hawke’s Bay’s contribution to GDP fell 0.2 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was led by fishing, forestry, and mining; rental, hiring, and real estate services; and owner-occupied property operation.
  • In 2014, Hawke’s Bay’s GDP increased 5.4 percent, primarily due to the agriculture and rental, hiring, and real estate services industries.
  • In 2015, Hawke’s Bay’s economy increased 0.9 percent. Increases in the fishing, forestry, and mining, and health care and social assistance industries were partly offset by a decrease in agriculture.
  • In 2016, Hawke’s Bay’s GDP increased 2.5 percent. This was led by increases in fishing, forestry, and mining; rental, hiring, and real estate services; and transport, postal, and warehousing. These were offset by a decrease in primary manufacturing. 

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Hawke's Bay region, year ended March.  

Taranaki

  • From 2011–16 Taranaki’s economy declined 4.3 percent (well below the national increase of 23.8 percent). Taranaki’s contribution to the GDP fell from 4.3 percent to 3.3 percent during this time.
  • The decline was driven by forestry, fishing, and mining, which is the largest industry in Taranaki (accounting for 29.4 percent of the region’s economy in 2015), and agriculture, the fourth largest industry. Together, production from these industries has fallen close to $1.6 billion since 2011.
  • However, the falls were softened by increases in many other industries in the region, notably manufacturing, which rose by more than $529 million, and transport, postal, and storage, which rose by $134 million.
  • In 2014, Taranaki’s GDP rose 5.3 percent. This was driven by a 49.0 percent increase in agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming), along with a 14.7 percent increase in manufacturing, more than offsetting the fall in fishing, forestry, and mining.
  • In 2015, Taranaki’s economy decreased 1.5 percent as the agriculture industry (mainly dairy cattle farming) declined 50.2 percent, in spite of substantial increases in manufacturing and fishing, forestry, and mining. 
  • In 2016, Taranaki’s GDP decreased 8.5 percent. Fishing, forestry, and mining experienced a significant contraction, reflecting the impact of lower international commodity prices.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Taranaki region, year ended March.

Manawatu-Wanganui

  • From 2011–16, Manawatu-Wanganui’s economy increased 12.1 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Manawatu-Wanganui’s contribution to GDP decreased 0.4 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was driven by the manufacturing industry, with support from rental, hiring, and real estate services. 
  • In 2014, Manawatu-Wanganui’s GDP increased 6.2 percent, mainly due to the agriculture industry. 
  • In 2015, Manawatu-Wanganui’s economy increased 1.3 percent, with increases led by manufacturing offset by a decrease in agriculture.
  • In 2016, Manawatu-Wanganui’s GDP increased 3.2 percent. Increases in most industries were partly offset by minor decreases in agriculture and construction. 

 Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Manawatu-Wanganui region, year ended March.

Wellington

  • From 2011–16, Wellington’s economy increased 21.4 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent).
  • The 2011–16 increase was driven primarily by the financial and insurance services; professional, scientific, and technical services; and public administration, defence, and safety industries. 
  • In 2014, Wellington’s GDP increased 4.4 percent, mainly due to the professional, scientific, and technical services industry and the financial and insurance services industry.
  • In 2015, Wellington’s economy increased 4.3 percent, driven by primary manufacturing; financial and insurance services; and public administration, defence, and safety.
  • In 2016, Wellington’s GDP increased 3.6 percent, led by professional, scientific, and technical services; and financial and insurance services. 

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Wellington region, year ended March.  

Tasman and Nelson

  • From 2011–16, Tasman and Nelson’s economy increased 19.0 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Tasman and Nelson’s contribution to GDP decreased 0.1 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was broad-based, led by retail trade, owner-occupied property operation, and fishing, forestry, and mining.
  • In 2014, Tasman and Nelson’s GDP increased 7.4 percent, primarily due to the agriculture industry.
  • In 2015, Tasman and Nelson’s economy increased 2.7 percent. The increase was led by health care and social assistance, offsetting a 24.1 percent decrease in agriculture.
  • In 2016, Tasman and Nelson’s GDP increased 2.9 percent. This was led by the transport, postal, and warehousing industry.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Tasman and Nelson region, year ended March.

Marlborough

  • From 2011–16 Marlborough’s economy increased by 32.3 percent (well above the national increase of 23.8 percent).
  • The 2011–16 increase was led by primary manufacturing (mainly food, beverage and tobacco); agriculture (mainly horticulture); and rental, hiring, and real estate services. During this period, Marlborough’s contribution to total GDP remained unchanged at 1.0 percent.
  • In 2014, Marlborough’s GDP rose 10.8 percent, with strong increases in agriculture (up 56.2 percent) and manufacturing (up 14.2 percent) being recorded.
  • In 2015, Marlborough’s economy rose 5.4 percent, with the large increases in agriculture and manufacturing in 2014 moderating.
  • In 2016, Marlborough’s GDP increased 1.7 percent with large falls in agriculture due to reduced grape harvest being partly offset by increases in other industries.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Marlborough region, year ended March.

West Coast

  • From 2011–16, the West Coast’s economy increased 1.1 percent (well below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this time, the West Coast’s contribution to GDP fell 0.2 percentage points to 0.6 percent.
  • The 2011–16 movement was affected by significant falls in the agriculture; and forestry, fishing, mining, electricity, gas, water, and waste industries (a combined fall of 32.7 percent). 
  • In 2014, the West Coast’s GDP increased 7.0 percent, driven by the agriculture industry, which more than offset the fall in forestry, fishing, mining, electricity, gas, water, and waste.
  • In 2015, the West Coast’s economy decreased 5.2 percent, due to a decrease in the agriculture industry. This was partly offset by an increase in the manufacturing industry.
  • In 2016, the West Coast’s GDP decreased 2.8 percent, due to continued falls in the forestry, fishing, mining electricity, gas, water, and waste industries. The West Coast remains the smallest regional economy.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, West Coast region, year ended March.

Canterbury

  • From 2011–16, Canterbury’s economy increased 31.9 percent (well above the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Canterbury's contribution to GDP increased 0.9 percentage points.
  • The 2011–16 increase was primarily driven by construction and professional, scientific, and technical services, from activity associated with the Christchurch rebuild.
  • In 2014, Canterbury’s GDP increased 10.6 percent, driven by the agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming) and construction industries.
  • In 2015, Canterbury’s economy increased 4.4 percent, due to increases in construction and manufacturing, which offset a fall in agriculture (mainly dairy cattle farming).
  • In 2016, Canterbury’s GDP increased 3.5 percent, led by the professional, scientific, and technical services; construction; and transport, postal, and warehousing industries.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Canterbury region, year ended March.

Otago

  • From 2011–16, Otago’s economy increased 22.3 percent (below the national movement of 23.8 percent). During this period, Otago’s contribution to GDP remained unchanged at 4.3 percent.
  • The 2011–16 increase was broad-based, with strong contributions from rental, hiring, and real estate services; owner-occupied property operation; and construction.
  • In 2014, Otago’s GDP increased 7.3 percent, primarily due to the agriculture industry.
  • In 2015, Otago’s economy increased 2.5 percent. Increases in transport, postal, and warehousing; wholesale trade; and manufacturing helped offset the large decrease in agriculture.
  • In 2016, Otago’s GDP increased 4.8 percent, primarily due to an increase in fishing, forestry, and mining, which offset a decrease in agriculture.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Otago region, year ended March.   

Southland

  • From 2011–16 the Southland economy increased 3.7 percent (well below the national average of 23.8 percent). During this period, Southland’s contribution to GDP fell 0.4 percentage points to 2.0 percent.
  • In 2014, Southland’s GDP increased 13.5 percent, benefiting from a 50.9 percent increase in the agriculture industry (mainly dairy cattle farming).
  • In 2015, Southland’s economy decreased 5.8 percent, reflecting a decline in the value of agricultural production (mainly dairy cattle farming) of 46.4 percent. This fall was partly offset by increases in several other industries, particularly manufacturing.
  • In 2016, Southland’s GDP decreased 1.0 percent due to a further fall in the agriculture industry.

Graph, Gross domestic product by industry, Southland region, year ended March.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the 'downloads' box.

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