While the North/South Island divide widens in the latest ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard, Hawke’s Bay remains stable, hanging on to its ‘silver medal’ status.

The Scoreboard takes the latest quarterly regional statistics and ranks the economic performance of New Zealand’s 16 regional council areas. The fastest-growing regions gain the highest ratings, and a good performance by the national economy raises the ratings of all regions. Ratings are updated every three months, and are based on measures including employment, construction, retail trade, house prices. 

For a second consecutive quarter, Hawke’s Bay has rated second, just behind Northland. 

“Another stunner for Hawke’s Bay, hanging on to second place for a second consecutive quarter. Like everywhere else, house prices rose in a big way in the past year, but the pace of gains has been particularly astonishing, up a whopping 27.2%. There was also a big surge in new car sales in this quarter, up 32.5% on the same time last year,” says the report. 

“The region’s strong run of late is particularly impressive given the absence of international tourists – with regional sales holding up, it looks like the Bay has done well to attract domestic tourists over the summer. With hospitality restrictions easing overseas, we think there could be further upside for the Bay’s food and beverage exports.”

The Scoreboard showed a massive widening in the North/South divide. Nine North Island regions took all of the top nine slots, and the seven South Island regions took the bottom seven slots. Strong housing and construction growth across the country boosted fortunes for many regions while Southland dropped to the bottom of the rankings with soft statistics across the board, which the ASB chief economist put down to the lack of international tourism spending due to the lengthy border closure. 

Northland continued to take top spot, with the region’s improving labour market coinciding with a construction boom and a strong forestry sector.

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