From the beach 2019

New Zealand’s domestic economy remains in a similar position to where it was 12 months ago: prospects of middling growth, somewhat hampered by capacity constraints and a tight labour market, and with some of the most significant potential shifts being driven by government policy and rule changes. In contrast to this largely unchanged domestic picture, many question marks have appeared during the last year over the international economic environment.

Auckland’s growth dominance continues, for now

Infometrics’ new estimates of regional GDP show that Auckland was the fastest growing region in the year to March 2018, expanding by 3.9% (see Graph 1). Auckland has regularly been towards the top of the regional league table throughout the last seven years. Its growth during 2018 was underpinned by a strong services performance, with industries such as professional, scientific, and technical services, financial and insurance services, and retail trade all expanding by more than 5.0%

Another step down the road to KiwiBuild failure

Stephen Barclay’s departure as head of the KiwiBuild unit makes it even less likely that the scheme will be able to progress at the rate hoped for by the government. Mr Barclay was appointed in May last year, when KiwiBuild was a largely autonomous unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. But the unit’s transfer to the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has led to an employment dispute and, ultimately, his departure.

Plastic bag ban provides opportunities and challenges to packaging sector

Kiwis have overwhelmingly supported the government’s plastic bag ban, which will kick in mid-2019. The ban presents the wider packaging sector of 50,000 workers with an opportunity to retool and grow itself as consumers increasingly look for more environmentally friendly options.

Chart of the month: who let the dogs out?

As we head into summer, many of us will be looking forward to spending time with friends, family, and of course ‘man’s best friend’, the pooch. This month we draw of data from the Department of Internal Affairs to look at where dogs are more concentrated in NZ. There were 560,511 registered dogs in NZ for the year ending 30 June 2018. Two-thirds (67%) of dogs are in the North Island (compared to 77% of the human population), with the remaining third (33%) in the South Island (vs 23% human).