By ROBYN BRISTOW
Waimakariri is weathering the Covid storm better than the wider Canterbury region and the country as a whole, according to the latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor.
The report covers the year to June 30 and shows a smaller drop in gross domestic product (-1.2%) and tourism spending (-1.7%) in the Waimakariri district, than in the rest of the Canterbury region and New Zealand overall.
The district also experienced an increase in consumer spending, up 1.5%, compared with a 4% fall in Canterbury and a 2.8% decline across New Zealand.
Commercial consents are up 58% in the district compared with significant decreases elsewhere.
Like elsewhere in the country, jobseeker support recipients rose sharply, by 26%, but the unemployment rate is actually lower than it was in June 2019, sitting at 3%.
Enterprise North Canterbury business support manager Miles Dalton says it is important to understand the jobseeker and unemployment figures to get an accurate picture.
“Jobseeker support recipients and the unemployment rate are two separate measures,” he says.
“A 26.1% increase in jobseeker support recipients looks like a huge number, but we are coming from a very low base.
“Unemployment is still 3% in Waimakariri, down from 3.1% a year ago.
“In statistical terms anything below 4% is considered full employment.”
Stephanie Reeves, who owns Red Eight Cafe in Kaiapoi, says that despite the changes and uncertainty over the last few months, business has remained steady.
“We have been blown away by the incredible community support we have received throughout Covid,” she said.
`‘People have really embraced the ‘shop local’ concept and, although customer spending is down in level 1 and 2, things have remained overall pretty steady.”
Mr Dalton says, overall, the Waimakariri district is weathering the storm better than the rest of Canterbury and better than New Zealand as a whole.
‘‘The GDP figure is much better than we expected and recent statistics show that consumer spending has bounced back quite nicely.’’
However, he warns there is still a lot of pain to come.
“But Waimakariri as a district is likely to get through this with a lot less disruption than other districts.”