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The Waimakariri District economy grew 3.1% in 2018, compared to 2.7% for New Zealand as a whole. The latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor was released at the end of February, outlining the economic data in the Waimakariri District for the year to December 2018.
Construction was the sector with the most notable gains in the report, with residential consents in the Waimakariri up 26% on the previous year (from 551 to 694) and non-residential consents up 23%. By comparison, the Canterbury region as a whole saw a 4.9% drop in residential consents and just a 10% increase in non-residentials. The Waimakariri figures were also higher than the national increase of 6.1% and 9.0% respectively.
Local company Hazeldine Construction has been operating in the Waimakariri District for over 10 years and Managing Director Jasmine Hazeldine says she has noticed the recent increase in work.
“We have increased our staff to meet our workload demand,” says Jasmine, who now employs 25 staff.
“It’s a very exciting time. Especially when we see new businesses opening up like the recent Port & Eagle Brewpub. We are fortunate to have developers who invest their time and money in our District.”
Tourism in the Waimakariri District was another area of note, with guest nights up 2.1% and tourism spending up 13% to an estimated $86m for the year. By comparison, tourism expenditure across the country as a whole was only up 4.3%.
An increase in both traffic volumes (up 3.4%) and consumer spending (up 5.3%) reinforce the strong economic activity occurring in the District, but Business Support Manager at Enterprise North Canterbury, Miles Dalton, says local businesses need to be cautious of the positive figures.
“Overall, it is looking very good for the District, but it is harder for smaller retail and hospitality businesses,” he said. “There have been a lot of new businesses start up in the Waimakariri in the last couple of years, which means that although there is more money going around, it is also being spread further.”
Whilst he says it’s hard to predict what the next quarter will bring, the rise in building consents as well as health enrolments (Infometrics’ leading indicator for population growth) indicates continued population growth, which will go some way to support continued economic growth in the District.