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Otago tops regional GDP increases

For the first time, Otago’s percentage increase in nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was the highest of all the regions, Stats NZ said today.

Provisional figures show Otago’s economy, which includes Queenstown, rose 8.6 percent over the year to March 2018. This was followed by Waikato (7.5 percent) and Tasman/Nelson (7.3 percent). The national average increase was 5.5 percent, which includes price changes.

“Otago’s increase was underpinned by strong contributions from its two largest industries – rental, hiring, and real estate services, as well as construction,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.

“Agriculture was also a big factor in Otago’s 2018 increase, reflecting more milk and lambs produced in the region and higher commodity prices.”

Large rises in housing-related industries were seen over the last 3–4 years in several other regions besides Otago. These include Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, and Tasman/Nelson.

“In contrast, construction in Canterbury continued to taper off over 2017 and 2018, with the region’s overall increase of 4.6 percent falling below the national average,” Mr Dunnet said.

GDP per capita measures total economic output divided by the number of people. The Wellington region has the top spot for GDP per capita in 2018, ahead of Taranaki, which was number one between 2007 and 2015. Wellington’s largest industries include professional groups, central government administration, and the finance and insurance services industries. Wellington’s GDP per capita rose to $71,622 in 2018, with Taranaki on $68,427, little changed from 2017. Gisborne had the lowest GDP per capita ($41,209). The national average was $58,778.

Regional GDP figures are expressed in current price (nominal) terms and so differ from national GDP measures that report GDP movements exclusive of price effects. In the same period, the year to March 2018, national GDP grew 3.1 percent, after adjusting for inflation.

Regional GDP data is released about four months after the annual national accounts is published. Regional GDP relies on similar sources to those used to build the national industry totals. Regionalisation, using the geographic information contained in these and other sources, cannot take place until finalised data is available.

Datainfo+ explains regional GDP methodology.

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