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Dunedin - Driving the Region's Economy

Thu, 8 July 2004

Dunedin - Driving the Region's Economy

(Dunedin, Otago, 8 July 2004) Dunedin continues to be the driving force of Otago's increased economic activity and is again exceeding national and regional levels of growth according to latest data. Independent research featured in the latest June 2004 Otago Outlook edition highlights the economic performance of each of the territorial local authorities within the Otago region. Statistics provided by Infometrics show that Dunedin's economic performance is surpassing all areas in the Otago region. This is illustrated by solid gains across all key economic indicators.

A key driver to economic growth has been strong population gains over the last year through migration. Dunedin had 588 more long-term arrivals than departures in the year ended March 2004, representing a 35% increase on the previous year. The City has gained 67% of total net migration for the entire Otago region during this period.

Cr Malcolm Farry, chair of the Council's Economic Development Committee, said: "These latest figures are proof that more people are realising that Dunedin is a great place to live and work. The flow-on effects of positive migration are now showing through in our economy."

Cr Farry underlined that job growth, business expansion, increased opportunities and steady sensible increase of population need to continue. However Cr Farry says, "While celebrating success we must anticipate that fluctuations in the economy will change from time-to-time, and must ensure that we continue to act strategically and proactively." Cr Farry was one of the key drivers of the Council's Economic Development Strategy in 2000, a document that continues to direct the Economic Development Unit's core focus of business development activity.

Increased building activity, house sales and visitor guest nights were other key factors underpinning rising activity in the year ended March 2004. Dunedin saw the largest value of commercial building consents issued of all Otago's five territorial local authorities, rising by 124% from the previous year. Major projects contributing to this increase included the re-development of Farmers department store, Scenic Circle's Dunedin City Hotel and smaller construction projects such as the Edgar Centre upgrade, Esplanade and Seawall redevelopment and the expansion of University College student accommodation. The number of residential building consents issued in the City also recorded a strong increase of 68% over the previous twelve months.

The City's tourism sector recorded a seven per cent increase up on the previous year with the number of visitor guest nights purchased at commercial accommodation properties, reaching 828,000. Growth in guest nights was equalled by Central Otago but surpassed activity in the other local authority areas. Dunedin's property market also performed well; evident by a 12% increase in house sales and a 33% rise in the median house sale price reaching $178,658 to the year ended April 2004.

ENDS

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