Wellington City economy healthy – quarterly report

27 May 2016

Wellington City’s economy is in good heart – with a significant increase in commercial building activity in the March quarter a highlight, according to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

She was referring to today’s release, by Infometrics, of the Quarterly Economic Monitor report for March 2016. 

Key changes from the last quarterly report included an increase in non-residential consents of 40% compared with 8.2% for the year to December 2015.

Mayor Wade-Brown says this big jump in non-residential consents bodes well for the city.

“Tourism activity also continues to increase and the growth in net migration coupled with buoyant consumer confidence, has contributed to a lift in retail trade,” she says. 

Other highlights included:

  • Annual GDP grew by 1.9% over the March 2016 year. 
  • The unemployment rate has increased from 5.1% last quarter to 5.4% this quarter.
  • International net migration increased by 2239 persons in the quarter. This compares to a gain of 2061 persons in the year to December 2015.
  • Retail trade increased by 3.4% over the quarter. This compares favourably with a 2.8% increase in New Zealand over the same period.

Councillor Jo Coughlan, Wellington City Council’s Economic Growth Committee Chair, says increasing tourism activity is extremely evident in the 5.2% lift in guest nights over the year to March 2016 and high levels of hotel occupancy. Domestic passenger numbers over the past year through Wellington Airport have risen 4.7%, while international passenger movements have climbed 16% over the same period.

Cr Coughlan added that the 40% increase in non-residential building consents is extremely pleasing to see. “There are obviously more tower cranes around the CBD compared to a year ago – so the increase in confidence in the city and region is now clearly translating into investment.”

Non-residential building consents to the value of $379 million were issued in Wellington City during the year to March.