Infometrics QEM: Key sectors bolstering Bay of Plenty economy

The Bay of Plenty’s strong primary industry sector is proving to be the backbone of the local economy, with the region’s economic activity outperforming national figures, new data shows.

Infometrics’ Quarterly Economic Monitor for the December 2021 quarter, covering Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Western Bay of Plenty, shows the region’s economic activity rose by 8 per cent, compared with 5.5 per cent growth nationally.

This was helped by a strong dairy payout and firm horticulture prices. The dairy payout for the 2021/22 season is estimated to be $1.1 billion, up $176 million from the 2020/21 season.

Despite challenges in the tourism sector, the Bay of Plenty has also benefited from domestic visitation, with tourism expenditure for the year to December 2021 up 7.1 per cent compared with 2020.

With many Kiwis unable to travel internationally, figures suggest the Bay of Plenty has been a region of choice for many looking to unwind and spend time with whānau and friends.

Not only is spending strong from domestic manuhiri, but also from those within the region. Marketview data shows consumer spending in Bay of Plenty was sitting 7.8 per cent higher over the year to December 2021. This increase compares to a 5 per cent increase felt nationally, highlighting the relatively strong consumer confidence of those in the Bay of Plenty.

Employment in the Bay of Plenty has also grown, with filled jobs for residents climbing 3.1 per cent over the year to December 2021, compared to a more modest increase of 1.7 per cent nationally.

Capacity constraints are becoming a growing concern, with businesses finding it harder to attract workers for positions and, as a result, labour costs are expected to rise.

The average house value in the Bay of Plenty was up nearly 29 per cent in December 2021 compared with a year earlier. However, fewer homes are being sold, decreasing 5.3 per cent in the year to December 2021, compared with the previous year.

From a macro perspective, Infometrics data suggests the Bay of Plenty economy is in a strong position to weather the impacts of COVID-19.

However, continued economic resilience will rely on New Zealand’s ability to start easing restrictions and opening borders in 2022.