That’s how ASB began its assessment of HB’s economic performance in its latest quarterly review of the NZ economy. Hawke’s Bay jumped up 4 places to #3 in their regional rankings, following Auckland and Otago.

Based upon data for the quarter ending December 2023, HB enjoyed 8.4% growth in employment year-over-year (yoy), with house sales up 15% and new car sales up 9.7%.

ASB notes that this growth occurred despite “softer than average” population growth – Hawke’s Bay grew 1.1% against NZ’s 2.1%.

ASB goes on to predict that HB’s performance should look even better in the next quarterly report, with construction activity still high, tourism rebounding, and decent weather for the region’s horticulture sector.

Interestingly, HB saw a 28% yoy growth in residential building consents. ASB noted: “Hawke’s Bay is the region with the highest overall consent growth.”

On the same day as this report, the Government in its wisdom – via Chris Penk, Minister for Building and Construction – issued a media release blasting local consenting authorities for the slow pace of consent approvals. Its answer to this ‘problem’? Requiring more reporting from councils on their handling of consents! 

Said Penk: “This added scrutiny will provide greater certainty for the sector, encourage best practice and drive innovation that will help reduce delays and let Kiwi builders get on with the job.”

Yeah, right!

How can adding more paperwork for local consenting staffs so the Minister can send out quarterly media releases possibly speed up the consenting process? People manage the consenting process, not yet robots or AI at this point. What BayBuzz hears from our local government is serious concern about staff burnout – significantly more workload, same bodies. How do 28% more consent applications in HB get processed faster by the same staff complement?

This is a classic case of central government imposing more requirements on local councils without any regard or support for the higher workloads involved.

Where is David Seymour, Minister for Regulation, when we really need him?! He and Minister Penk should have a chat.


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