Publish date: 20/11/2018

Over 800 new businesses opened in the North Canterbury region in the year to June, but the total number of businesses in the region has dropped since the same time last year.

The latest business demography statistics from Statistics New Zealand show that despite 654 new businesses in the Waimakariri District and 165 in the Hurunui District, total business numbers have reduced by 57 in the Waimakariri and 66 in the Hurunui, compared to June 2017.

There are now 6,429 businesses in the Waimakariri District and 2,532 in the Hurunui District.

Enterprise North Canterbury Business Support Manager Miles Dalton says the most likely reason for the drop in business numbers was consolidation in the agricultural sector.

“Agriculture contributed to a drop in the number of businesses in both districts, because of the consolidation of many farming operations. Over 100 agricultural businesses in the Waimakariri and 45 in the Hurunui closed their doors or consolidated in the year to June. Despite this, staff numbers in the agricultural sector continued to grow.”

In fact, employee numbers across both regions increased in the recorded time period, with 100 more employees in the Hurunui District and 300 more in the Waimakariri.

The drop in business numbers in the Waimakariri is the first recorded decline since the 2010 earthquakes. This is in line with the most recent Quarterly Economic Monitor from Infometrics, released in August, which recorded the region’s annual economic growth as the slowest in the district since December 2009, dubbing it a ’post-quake, post-rebuild rhythm’.

“The longer-term trend in both districts is positive,” says Dalton. “We’re seeing an overall increase in business numbers over time and a larger increase in employee numbers.”