Southland top for growth

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey says she always knew Southland was the "most kick-arse" region in New Zealand.

She was now pleased the rest of the country would know it, too.

Southland leaders yesterday welcomed the findings of ASB’s regional economic scoreboard, which showed Southland as the strongest growing region in New Zealand — knocking Auckland off the top spot.

The scoreboard ranks regions based on year-on-year growth across a range of measures, including employment, building consents and retail sales.

The South Island had the strongest performers, with Southland and Otago in first and second place respectively. Auckland dropped to fifth spot, having led the scoreboard for the two previous quarters.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said Southland had a solid gain of 10 places in the growth stakes driven by strong construction and housing activity.

"We expect Southland’s sterling run to continue next quarter, with favourable farming conditions relative to other parts of the country helping revenues and confidence."

Ms Carey was pleased with the region’s performance.

"I do think that the hard work over the last three or four years from all the people that were involved in the diversification for the region is starting to show and it’s paying off now.

"The thing that I like about it is that it isn’t just us blowing our own trumpet ... It’s a reputable organisation saying, ‘actually, yes, we are the most kick-arse region in New Zealand’."

She believed this would be leading a trend for the future because this result was decided  before the Tiwai decision to extend its life for more 20 years.

 "I have been saying that 2024 will be the year that defines the next decade for Southland because of all of the decisions that were being made.

"We had the Tiwai decision, the data centre, the hydrogen, all of that — if all of these  come off, then we are going to be the booming growth region."

Great South chief executive Chami Abeysinghe agreed. 

She confessed the results were not a surprise to her due to all effort and hard work the region’s players and businesses have put on.

Nevertheless it was great for the region, she said.

"Southland’s time is now — we’re in a really good position."