By ROBYN BRISTOW
The Waimakariri district’s economy and population continue to grow.
The latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor shows the local economy grew 3.1 percent in 2018, compared to 2.7% for New Zealand as a whole.
The survey, released at the end of February for the year to December 2018, showed the construction sector had the most notable gains in the report, with residential consents in the Waimakariri district up 26% on the previous year (from 551 to 694) and non-residential consents up 23%.
By comparison, the Canterbury region as a whole saw a 4.9% drop in residential consents and just a 10% increase in non-residential consents.
The Waimakariri figures are also higher than the national increase of 6.1% and 9.0% respectively.
Hazeldine Construction, which has been operating in the Waimakariri District for more than 10 years, has noticed the increase in work recently.
Managing director Jasmine Hazeldine says staff had been increased to 25 to meet demand.
“It’s a very exciting time. Especially when we see new businesses opening up like the recent Port & Eagle Brewpub.
“We are fortunate to have developers who invest their time and money in our district,” she says.
Tourism in the Waimakariri district is also growing.
Guest nights are up 2.1% and tourism spending is up 13% to an estimated $86m for the year.
By comparison, tourism spending across the country as a whole was up 4.3%.
An increase in traffic volumes (up 3.4%) and consumer spending (up 5.3%) reinforce the strong economic activity occurring in the district.
However, Enterprise North Canterbury business support manager Miles Dalton says local businesses need to be cautious of the positive figures.
“Overall, it is looking very good for the district, but it is harder for smaller retail and hospitality businesses,” he says.
“There have been a lot of new businesses start up in the Waimakariri in the last couple of years, which means that although there is more money going around, it is also being spread further,” he says
Mr Dalton says it is hard to predict what the next quarter will bring, but the rise in building consents as well as in health enrolments, which is Infometric’s leading indicator for population growth, indicates continued population growth.
This, he says, will go some way to support continued economic growth in the district.