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Activate Tairawhiti chief executive Steve Breen. Picture by Paul Rickard

Economic growth leads the country

7 June 2016, Steve Breen, The Gisborne Herald.

For the year ended December 2015 the regional economy grew by 4.7 percent.

STATISTICS NZ, ANZ Bank, AREINZ and Land Transport NZ agree: our region continues to show strong, ongoing economic growth.

For the year ended December 2015 the regional economy grew by 4.7 percent compared to 3 percent nationally. Overall, we had the highest annual economic activity growth rate in the country. This is a great result for our business owners, the people they employ and the community they support — and one that we’re keen to see continue.

The region’s ability to outperform is important. We have some lost ground to make up from the past few years, when growth was below the national average. The indications for the first half of 2016 are that the region is continuing to outperform the rest of the country.

For the year ended March 2016, the regional economy grew at 4.5 percent compared to 2.9 percent nationally, and our region showed an overall employment increase of 2.8 percent.

This growth is being reflected in the investment being made to meet demand. New commercial-industrial buildings consented has risen significantly from the previous year, both in number (up 64 percent) and value (up 77 percent). Consents for on-farm new buildings increased by 37 percent in number and 25 percent in value compared to the previous year.

Our sheep and beef farmers have had a better season than anticipated, and the returns being made by our kiwifruit growers demonstrate how well our horticultural sector is performing — with new plantings of kiwifruit and pipfruit under way to meet market demand.

At Activate Tairawhiti, we’re continuing to improve our direct support for businesses with an additional Callaghan Innovation person now based in Gisborne. There’s increasing business participation in the Icehouse owner/manager programme and the High Performance Work initiative, both of which are geared towards helping businesses capitalise on opportunities to invest and grow.

We’re also developing our capability to attract investment into local businesses. There’s capital available from a variety of sources — local, national and international — to support business growth. Being able to produce viable investment opportunities, and matching those to the sources of capital, is an area that needs to be expanded if we’re to realise our region’s full potential. To date five businesses are participating in this programme, with more to come.

I’ve been living in Gisborne and working at Activate Tairawhiti for a year now, and it’s so encouraging to see our unique region beginning to perform well again.

The Activate team is here to help stimulate growth across the local economy, and also to support individual businesses in achieving their own growth aspirations. To discuss how we can work with your business, please contact me: steve@activatetairawhiti.co.nz

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7 June 2016
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