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Manukau Economy Set For Strong Growth This Year

Media release
22 January 2004

Manukau Economy Set For Strong Growth This Year

The coming year is expected to bring continued strong economic growth in Manukau, although at a lower level than last year. A number of large scale investment projects are anticipated or have been announced.

AMP Global Investments plans to build an $18 million cinema complex in Botany and a number of other projects are to be made public soon. This includes construction of a large retail store in the Supa Centa off Cavendish Drive at Manukau City Centre.

An accurate measure of the scale of new developments is the size and number of Council building consents issued to the business sector. The value of consents was up by 16% in the year to November.

Manukau is the fastest growing city in the country with a very youthful population. This has led to the building of 3 new schools, including a $12 million secondary school, Alfriston College in Manurewa, which will open next week.

Other large-scale developments are a $4.5 million office park complex in Ormiston Road, East Tamaki, and a $2.5 million retail development in Flatbush.

The projected growth rate for the year is 2.5%, compared to 3.6% over the previous year, the latest economic update to the Council’s economic development committee shows.

Nationally, interest rates are predicted to rise over the next few months and migration levels are expected to halve from last year’s levels to around 20,000 net.

Both these influences are likely to have a substantial impact on Manukau’s economy, as well as the rest of the country, and dampen down the housing market. The fall in migration numbers began in the middle of last year and is expected to continue.

Another factor is the continued strength of the kiwi dollar which makes it harder for New Zealand manufacturers to compete overseas. Manukau’s manufacturing sector is large and is the biggest employer in the city, and hence any difficulties these businesses encounter will have wide impact.

The unemployment rate is at a record low level of 5.7% due to economic growth which led to new jobs being created. The national rate is 4.4%.

However many businesses still have trouble finding the skilled staff they need, and skill shortages remain. Demand for labour grew 6.6% over the past year.

House prices rose 12% in the year to September, and sales rose 14%, reflecting a slower rise in prices in the Auckland region generally. A large number of new houses have been built or are under construction and that will also have a dampening effect on the housing market as there has been a shortage of properties over the past year.

Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the overall picture is very positive and it’s all “go” for the city. “There are three key reasons – the strong population growth, quality infrastructure and a business-friendly council. The Council is well aware of the importance of businesses to the city and it is vitally important for us to provide conditions needed for businesses to move here, and to flourish.

“Botany is clearly the focus of the current growth, with two new secondary schools opening in the area next week and housing booming. But it will be Flat Bush next.

“The Council is now working intensely on planning Flat Bush Town Centre, which is going to house 40,000 people within 7 years. It’s a huge project and a very exciting one. It’s only green fields now, but watch this space”.


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