Otago leads the way with nominal GDP

Pictured: A more than $6million roadworks project at the intersection near Queenstown, which is...
Pictured: A more than $6million roadworks project at the intersection near Queenstown, which is expected to open next month. Photo: NZ Transport Agency
Otago has topped the rest of the country for the first time on nominal gross domestic product underpinned by big contributions from its two largest industries - construction and the rental, hiring, and real estate services.

Otago's nominal gross domestic product (GDP) rose 8.6% for the year to March while the national average increase was 5.5%, according to Stats NZ national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet.

''Agriculture was also a big factor in Otago's 2018 increase, reflecting more milk and lambs produced in the region and higher commodity prices,'' he said in a statement.

Nominal GDP is measured at current services prices and is not inflation adjusted.

Following Otago was Waikato, at 7.5% and Tasman-Nelson on 7.3%.

However, when GDP is looked at in economic output divided by the population, Otago ranks fifth of 15 regions at $58,665: Wellington is at the top on $71,622, Taranaki is at $68,427, Marlborough is on $65,084 and Auckland is at $64, 223.

Otago's average was virtually the national average of $58,778, while Gisborne had the lowest GDP per capita, at $41,209.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said the Stats NZ data showed Otago growth was ''strong'', right through several sectors, but including the primary sector, construction and job growth.

''The construction [data] graph for Dunedin will go through the roof during the next three to five years,'' Mr McGowan said of the Dunedin hospital build and University of Otago work.

''Figures can get distorted with different cities and zones,'' he said.

Stats NZ's Mr Dunnet said Otago had had large rises in housing-related industries during the past 3 to 4 years, which were also experienced elsewhere, including Northland, Auckland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Tasman-Nelson.

Mr McGowan also highlighted Otago's strong house price growth, which flowed through to other areas of spending.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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