Regions rebounding

The latest ANZ quarterly regional survey provides good news:

For the first time in eight years all 14 regions in New Zealand reported growth in economic activity in the December quarter, according to the ANZ Bank’ quarterly regional trends survey.

In terms of annual economic activity growth it was the first time in two years that all of the regions in the country had seen positive annual growth. . .

The rate of increase in Canterbury’s economy is twice that of the second-placed Nelson- Marlborough. The nationwide measure of regional economic activity increased 2.5 percent in the 2012 calendar year. The previous time the nationwide growth was this strong was just prior to the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, when the economy was recovering from the downturn induced by the Global Financial Crisis.”

Edwards said the North Island economy grew 1.9 percent in the twelve months to December 2012, while the South Island, led by Canterbury, recorded annual economic growth of 4.9 percent. . .

There is a growing sense of optimism in the south, helped by the Christchurch rebuild and a reasonable season on farms.

The ODT reports that tourist operators are finding the market tough, at least in part because of the reduction in people coming into Christchurch which has always been an important gateway to the South Island.

However, anecdotal evidence contradicts that.

A friend tried 10 hotels in Queenstown last week and was unable to find a spare bed. We were in Wanaka last Thursday and the first three restaurants we tried were booked out and friends said visitors from overseas reported accommodation at capacity everywhere they stopped on the West Coast.

We might not be out of the woods yet, but the trees do seem to be thinning.

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