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Provides consistent information for each of New Zealand’s 16 regions. This allows us to compare the regions’ economic performance, distinguish their attributes and specialisations, and understand the different roles they play in the New Zealand economy.


The 2014 regional economic activity report report shows that nearly all of New Zealand's 16 regions have made good economic progress over the last 12 months, reflecting New Zealand’s recovery after the global financial crisis.

Each region provides a different contribution to the New Zealand economy and, while there is diversity, all regions have the potential to attract further investment, improve their living standards and generate high-value economic growth.

Most regions experienced job growth over the last year. This is despite the 2013 drought which particularly affected primary production in the North Island. Canterbury has been the fastest growing region over the last two years, driven by the Christchurch rebuild and supported by its primary sector.

Actions to enhance regional economic activity and outcomes need to be underpinned by a sound knowledge of each region’s historical trends and its strengths and weaknesses.This report provides comprehensive and comparative information about economic outcomes and the drivers of those outcomes across all regions. In addition, the government, in partnership with local decision-makers, is this year undertaking in-depth economic growth studies of regions such as East Coast, Northland, Bay of Plenty, and Manawatū-Wanganui. Those studies will help the regions prioritise opportunities for growth and identify how to overcome any barriers to that growth.

This report highlights several key findings.

First, each region has industry specialisations which have developed historically due to natural resource and infrastructure endowments, geographic location and skills. Those specialisations are the chief contributors to the different economic outcomes seen across the regions. Some sectors, such as dairy farming and milk processing, are benefiting from high commodity prices and market growth while others, such as horticulture, have lower returns.

Secondly, the report identifies a regional dimension to the economic disparity between Māori and non-Māori. Some of the regions with poorer outcomes are also regions that have a higher proportion of Māori in their populations. The Crown and Māori have entered into an economic growth partnership to improve economic outcomes for Māori and to build economic growth from Māori assets and Māori Inc. This partnership will be delivered regionally and will include Business Growth Agenda actions such as the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training programme.

Thirdly, the report shows there is significant diversity in demographic trends across regions, partly in response to relative economic opportunities. New Zealand, like all developed countries, has an ageing population but in some regions and sub-regions the population is ageing at a significantly faster rate than others. There is also disparity in regional shares of international migrants. Local decision-makers face the need to anticipate today how their projected population profiles will impact infrastructure and services demand.

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