Infometrics gross domestic product (GDP) estimates suggest economic growth in the region was 2.0% in the year to March 2015. Palmerston North GDP increased by 2.8% in the year to March 2015 while Manawatū District GDP is estimated to have declined by 0.6%, reflecting the greater impact of the dairy sector on the District's economy. New Zealand GDP is estimated to have increased by 3.2% in the year to March 2015.
Alan Cockrell, chief executive of Vision Manawatū, noted the downturn in the dairy payout is estimated to have reduced dairy farmer incomes by $172 million from the record payout level in the previous season. The full impact of this reduction is yet to be seen, with farm spending likely to be very constrained over the next six months
However, one of the great strengths of the region is the diversity of the sectors which drive economic growth. The completion of the expansion of the New Zealand Post mail processing centre and the opening of the Provida Foods distribution facility in March are examples of the range of businesses contributing to strong growth in the region's logistics sector.
The region has also experienced strong growth in the value of non-residential building consents issued, which increased by 42% in the year to March 2015. The $27.5 million increase in the value of consents will provide relief to some of the businesses which service the dairy sector.
Chief executive of Destination Manawatū, Lance Bickford noted the region had a strong quarter for domestic visitor spending. While the region did not host any Cricket World Cup games domestic visitor spending in the region increased by 12% in the March quarter, well ahead of national growth of 5%. International visitor spending growth in the region was weaker, but still increased by 5% compared with national growth of 13% in the quarter.
The Manawatū Region Quarterly Economic Monitor is produced by Infometrics for Palmerston North City Council and a copy of the full report can be found at pncc.govt.nz.
For further information contact:
Economic policy advisor
Palmerston North City Council
Ph: (06) 356 8199