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Research Yields New Estimates for Regional GDP

18 December 2006

Research Yields New Estimates for Regional GDP

A new report has been released, confirming that regional gross domestic product (GDP) estimates can be produced using existing data sources, Statistics New Zealand said today. Research Report on Regional Gross Domestic Product contains Statistics NZ's findings on the feasibility of regional GDP. The project yielded new current-price annual estimates for regional GDP by industry, for the years ended March 2000–2003, and confirmed that ongoing regional GDP series can be produced if required.

The report provides estimates for 15 regions, based on administrative boundaries. Tasman and Nelson have been combined.

The estimates released today for regional GDP show that New Zealand's regional structure is characterised by four regions with a large economic contribution, with the remaining 11 regions each contributing a much smaller amount. The largest contributor is Auckland, which in 2003 accounted for 36.5 percent of total GDP. Wellington contributed 14.8 percent, Canterbury 11.5 percent, and Waikato 8.1 percent. The remaining 11 regions contributed 29.1 percent combined.

South Island regions generally grew faster than North Island regions over the time period 2000–2003. Growth in North Island regions was hampered in 2003 by low dairy prices and drought in Taranaki and Manawatu-Wanganui. Events such as droughts have a temporary impact, and the differences in regional growth in this series may not exist over a longer timescale. The initial regional GDP series is too short to draw definitive conclusions on regional economic performance.

The research report provides an overview of the methodology and data sources used to produce the experimental series, an assessment of the quality of the series produced, and a brief discussion of the estimates by region. A more detailed regional GDP sources and methods paper will be released in early 2007. Statistics NZ welcomes user feedback on the methods and results presented in this report, and views on the potential use and value of further development of regional GDP estimates.

The research report and the regional GDP time-series estimates are available on Statistics NZ's website ( The regional estimates are consistent with national GDP.

Brian Pink Government Statistician


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