Nelson-Tasman Quarterly economic monitor - June 2020

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Indicator Nelson-Tasman New Zealand
Annual average % change
Gross domestic product
Traffic flow
Health Enrolments
Consumer spending
Residential consents
Non-residential consents
House prices*
House sales
Tourism expenditure
Car registrations
Commercial vehicle registrations
Jobseeker Support recipients
Unemployment rate
* Annual percentage change (latest quarter compared to a year earlier)

Overview of Nelson-Tasman

Nelson-Tasman’s economy contracted by 1.5% in the year to June 2020, slightly lower than the national decline of 2.1%. In the June 2020 quarter, the region’s GDP was 12.5% lower than the same quarter of 2019, while the national economy contracted by 12.6%.

The number of Jobseeker Support recipients in the region rose by 19.5%, compared to a 19% increase nationally. According to the Infometrics Local Economic Insights Dashboards for Nelson City and Tasman District, as of 1 June 2020 there were 3,696 Jobseeker Support recipients and 225 COVID Income Relief Payment recipients in the region.

According to data received from Marketview, electronic card spending in the region declined by 1.9% over the year to June 2020, and by 18.2% over the quarter when compared to the June 2019 quarter. Spending did however recover from a monthly low of $51m in April 2020, to more than $112m in June.

The number of residential building consents issued continued to decline, from a high of 220 in the September 2019 quarter to 168 in the June 2020 quarter. The value of non-residential consents issued in the year to June 2020 declined by 19%, far larger than the 8.8% decline nationally.

In the housing market, listings and sales declined sharply during the lockdown period, before recovering to more regular historic levels towards the end of the June quarter. The volume of house sales over the year to June 2020 declined by 7.5%, compared to a national decline of 6%, while house prices in the region rose by 6.7% over the same period.

Vehicle registrations declined over the year to June 2020, with passenger vehicle registrations down by 11.9%. Commercial vehicle registrations declined by 25.6%, reflecting a weaker outlook for businesses.

Nelson-Tasman’s economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The continued lack of international tourism, along with the turmoil in international markets for New Zealand products, suggest further economic headwinds in the remainder of 2020.

Overview of national economy

The New Zealand economy took a severe hit during the June 2020 quarter, as the COVID-19 pandemic saw the country locked down at home for around four weeks at Alert Level 4, before a rapid move down the Alert Levels to Level 1 in early June. The economy has endured a dramatic shift in focus, from life support at Level 4 to an adrenaline rush at Level 1. Yet the immediate economic ramifications are clear to see – economic activity has fallen, nearly 50,000 Kiwis lost their jobs, businesses struggled to cope with lower earnings, and incomes were reduced. The June quarter likely represents the largest single hit to the economy, but the economic scarring and restructuring will continue to occur over the coming years. New Zealand is not out of the woods yet.