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Manukau Economy Sails Through Choppy Times

5 April 2002

Manukau Economy Sails Through Choppy Times

The economic downturn in many countries following the terrorist attacks of September 11 has not impacted substantially on Manukau, mayor Sir Barry Curtis says.

Latest figures show there was a sharp improvement in economic performance over the past quarter, led by manufacturing and the housing market. And Manukau's economy is still growing faster than the national average.

Manukau's growth rate for the 2001 year was 2.6%, compared to the national rate of 2.4%. Growth in Manukau is expected to outstrip the national average for the rest of this year.

A major factor is the flood of migrants coming into the country since late last year. In January, New Zealand took in more migrants than in any other month -11,300. Over last year as a whole there was a net increase of 16,000.

"Young New Zealanders may think their country backward and dull and flock overseas to see the world but, more and more, people from other nations are recognising what we have to offer is unique and precious, and are eager to come here to live," Sir Barry says.

At the present rate of monthly migration up to 40,000 people will be added to New Zealand's population in the coming year. Most will choose to live in the Auckland region if past trends continue. This inflow of people is having a very strong economic impact. Many migrants are settling in Manukau, helping to boost the housing market in the city.

House sales are up fifty per cent on a year ago and Manukau City Council issued 28% more residential building consents in February compared to a year earlier. Demand for housing is growing faster in Manukau than in the rest of New Zealand.

Other factors helping to keep the market buoyant have been low mortgage rates and rising house prices.

The bulk of the growth in the housing market has been in the East Tamaki and Botany areas. The population in the Howick-Wiri corridor is expected to increase by 50,000 by the year 2010.

In the business sector the number of new building projects fell substantially. However there's been a pickup in recent months and that's expected to be maintained.

Among the large projects currently underway are a 4 million dollar new head office of DB Breweries in Papatoetoe and a 2.3 million dollar warehouse in Manurewa.

Development around the Auckland International Airport continues at a fast pace. In future the airport zone is expected to become the largest single business development zone in the country.

Manufacturing continues to expand and a new beef processing plant is expected to open in Mangere later this year, creating 500 jobs.

"New roads and transport options will be needed to deal with those extra people and I am pleased to say this is going to be a watershed year for improvements to road and passenger transport," Sir Barry says.

"Manukau City Council is committed to completing the roading network and other infrastructure needed to facilitate economic growth and make the future happen.

"So the prospects for Manukau in the coming year are very positive. Over the past five years Manukau has had the highest growth rate of any city in New Zealand, and I fully anticipate that will continue."


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