Southland economy faring well

An artist's impression of the proposed data centre outside of Invercargill. IMAGE: DATAGRID NZ
An artist's impression of the proposed data centre outside of Invercargill. IMAGE: DATAGRID NZ
Great South has welcomed a quarterly economic report which shows promising signs for the Southland economy.

The report, which it commissioned from economic consultants Infometrics, showed the region’s GDP had increased by 5.4%, which was above the national average, and it had the lowest unemployment rate (2.6%) since 2013.

It followed on from reports Great South commissioned in 2020 and 2021 to establish the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

In a statement, Great South interim chief executive Ian Collier said the potential closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter had seen the emergence of new large-scale potential projects such as green hydrogen production and big data centres.

"With new hotels and an exciting inner-city retail complex under development, along with significant opportunities in the aquaculture industry, Southland is well placed when we look to the future," he said.

The post-Covid analysis report in 2021 predicted the population would increase to between 108,800 and 111,300 by 2025, up from 101,600 pre-Covid.

The population has remained stable at 102,700.

While it was less likely growth would be achieved, it continued to be a focus for the region, Mr Collier said.

There were 480 residential building consents issued in the Southland region for the year that ended in March 2022, above the 10-year average of 298 — 277 new dwelling consents were issued in Invercargill City, 170 in the Southland district and 33 in the Gore district.

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