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Business Research and Development up 29% to $1.6 billion - April 2017

Computer services and machinery manufacturing firms led the way in an almost 30 percent lift in business spending on research and development (R&D) in 2016, (Stats NZ). Businesses spent $1.6 billion on R&D in 2016, up $356 million (29 percent) from 2014. Read more

New report shows importance of dairy industry - February 2017

A new report confirms the dairy industry makes a major contribution to New Zealand’s economy. According to the report dairy contributes $7.8 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and is our largest goods exporter. The report ‘Dairy trade’s economic contribution to New Zealand’ was commissioned from NZIER by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) . Read more

Infometrics - Timaru District Quarterly Economic Monitor

The infometrics report is released quarterly and provides detailed information on the Timaru economy and indicators of future growth and how the local economy compares nationally and with other regions. Data covered in the report includes GDP, house prices, unemployment, tourism and retail trade. View the latest report here.

Business Data and Statistics – August 2016

The consistent message from the statistical data being received is that South Canterbury is operating well. Summarized below is the latest data received from MBIE (Population estimates, household income, mean weekly rent and GDP per capita), Paymark and Statistics NZ on visitor guest nights, value of spend by country and spend by product.

The Paymark data released in August and adjusted to show "underlying spending" it is good to see with South Canterbury's value in transactions of $72.6 million dollars achieving an increase of 1.6% despite the dairy down turn. This data once again confirms the resilience of our district and the significance of having a diverse economy. The report identifies two driving forces for the national changes in spending being housing and tourism. It is likely that South Canterbury has benefited from the significant increase in tourism in the Mackenzie District.  The other interesting reference is the pick-up of contactless card payments and its influence on the growth in spending and being reflective of tourism spending.

Underlying spending through Paymark nationally was 5.5% higher in July than in July 2015. Figure 1. Percentage change in underlying spending through Paymark per half year.


The full Paymark media release is available on

Visitor Guest Nights – June 2016
The Mackenzie District for the period ended June 2016 sees a further significant increase in guest nights of 20% to 671,886 including both international and domestic increases of 17.7% and 25.8% respectively. As advised by CIAL Chief Executive Malcolm Johns, international visitors are set to increase by a further 20% this next year providing both opportunity and challenges for the Mackenzie district.


The Timaru District for the same period is showing a year end decrease with international guest nights increasing by 0.8% while domestic guest nights fell 5.3% to 247,776.

Tourism Spend

MBIE Annual spend grouped by Regional Tourism Organisation, Country of Origin, and product category for South Canterbury.

Regional Activity Report (MBIE)

Timaru District

Mackenzie District

Previous Reports:

Strong Economic Performance Continues in Timaru District

The 2014 Timaru District Economic Development Indicators (pdf) report released on 22 January 2015 was prepared by BERL for Aoraki Development Business and Tourism, and shows the changes occurring in the Timaru District economy over the last year, as well as the last decade. The report examines the general economic performance of the District in relation to two comparator areas Wairarapa and Marlborough District, and it terms of employment, GDP and business units.

Key performance indicators
Overall, the Timaru District economy has performed better than the national economy across five of the seven key performance indicators. In comparison to Wairarapa, Timaru District performed better in six of the key performance indicators, while in comparison to Marlborough District Timaru District had a better performance in four of the seven indicators.

Economic Growth
GDP in the Timaru District grew by 4.8 percent in the year to March 2014, from $2.48 billion to $2.60 billion, building on 3.4% growth in 2013. This growth was driven by strong gains in the manufacturing, construction, and business services sectors. These sectors have made significant contributions to the District economy over the short and long-term. Six of past seven years Timaru District’s growth has been ahead of New Zealand’s.
Examples of business expansion in the region are:
  • The multi-million dollar Japanese Sumitomo Corporation has acquired 80% shares in Juice Products NZ which has its factory in Washdyke and will be managed from Timaru
  • A $24m expansion project is underway at Elloughton Gardens retirement village
  • The Temuka Drum factory (the only manufacturer of steel drums for dairy and other food companies in the south island) has a new plant that will double its capacity.

Employment growth
In 2014, approximately 22,260 FTEs were employed in Timaru District in 5,410 businesses. Between 2013 and 2014, employment grew by 4.0 percent, with an additional 865 FTEs in employment. Employment growth in the Timaru District was stronger year-on-year than the national average, which grew by 3.1 percent.

Cargo exports and imports
618,000 tonnes of exports left the country through the Port of Timaru in the year to September 2014 up 63 percent. These exports were worth $585 million, up 62 percent.

The sharply increasing value of and volume of exports going out through the Port of Timaru is good news for the district. This means that more activity is occurring at the port and in the District. It also means that primary producers are likely receiving greater income from exports sent through the port, which could lead to greater spending occurring in the district and higher levels of employment.

Visitor guest nights
In the year ending September 2014, 302,302 nights were spent in commercial accommodation within the Timaru District by tourists. This is a 17.7 percent increase on the year ending September 2013.
Of the 45,000 increase in visitor nights for the year to September 2014, around 44,000 are from increased numbers of domestic visitors which are likely to include a high proportion of business visitors and leisure related travelled including sports events, while the last 1,000 come from an increase in international visitors.

This increase in domestic visitors is very good news for the Timaru economy, as the spending of these additional 44,000 visitors will contribute significantly to the economy.

Download the full report here (1.3MB)

Timaru Industry Projections to 2025

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism (ADBT) has commissioned research from BERL to assist with business and infrastructure planning out to 2025. This work looks at the industries which will see the largest employment growth, the largest GDP growth and how the district’s population will change.

Wendy Smith says that “BERL forecasts to 2025 show that the district will continue to see healthy growth with GDP growth forecast at 3.1% per annum out to 2025. This is good news and will provide huge confidence to employers and business owners. GDP growth from $2.4 billion to $3.4 billion is a strong gain.”

With an expected increase of approximately 300 full time equivalent staff per annum we will need to build and maintain an active retention and attraction programme and ensure our school leavers select South Canterbury as their first choice for career options.

In 2013 Timaru District had a population of 43,900 people this is projected to increase to 47,200 people with all the associated infrastructure and housing requirements that will accompany this growth.

Wendy Smith says “This report does reaffirm what we all know is happening, strong business growth, these projections will assist us all as a community to carry out further informed planning.”

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism has established a South Canterbury Workforce strategy group to consider these challenges to develop and maintain a comprehensive overview of the skills and occupations demanded and facilitate initiatives to meet this growing demand.

View the full report

Timaru's Economy in Good Shape

The ADBT commissioned Timaru District Profile 2013 by BERL takes an in-depth look at the Timaru economy.

In 2013, approximately 21,390 full time equivalents (FTEs) were employed in Timaru District in 5,330 businesses. Together, these businesses generated $2.37 billion in GDP, 3.4% growth from 2012. The three major contributors to GDP in the Timaru District are the manufacturing sector (28%), business services (16%), and social services (15%) sectors. Employment growth in the Timaru District was stronger year-on-year than the national average, and an additional 380 FTEs were employed in this District.

Berl chief economist Dr Ganesh Nana said Timaru's economy seemed well balanced. "A lot of other economies are overly reliant on one sector, but Timaru has a good crossover between manufacturing, primary produce and health," he said.

Top 10 largest contributors to GDP, Timaru District, 2013

ADBT Chief Executive Wendy Smith said "It is important to note the strength of our food manufacturing sector accounting for 16.5% of the district’s GDP and demonstrating the value created by processing and manufacturing. Linking this sector with agriculture and the associated road transport sector clearly strengthens Timaru’s proposition as a leading agricultural manufacturing town. With our strong employment figures, stronger than the national average year on year, Timaru is a great place to establish a business, grow your business or simply choose to live due to the excellent opportunities and employment choices."

Strong Business Confidence

Both Timaru district and New Zealand recorded large increases in non-residential consents in the December 2013 year, but it was the Timaru district that saw the largest increase with an increase of 76.5% or $37m consented over the last year. A rise in consents is generally considered an indicator of business confidence.
PDF downloads available here: - ADBT commissioned Timaru District Profile 2013

Previous Economic Reports

Timaru Ranks 1st for GDP & Employment growth
Timaru District is ranked 3rd overall in the City Ranking 2013 report but first in five year GDP growth and employment growth. PDF Downloads available here:
Cities Rankings Report
 - The Region Rankings Report
 - Local Authorities Rankings Report
Commercial Building Workshop - Risks & Opportunities
In wake of government ‘Quake-prone’ Buildings earthquake strengthening policy recently released, Aoraki Development Business & Tourism (ADBT) held a free workshop for South Canterbury commercial building owners and occupiers. Read more
Timaru EconomyTimaru 2012 Economic Profile - Infometrics
Latest statistics sourced by Aoraki Development Business and Tourism from the show that Timaru’s economy has grown 4.4% in the year to March 2012 compared to New Zealand’s economy at 2.3%. Read more
Download the full report (pdf 1.7mb)
BERL Report City Rankings: Timaru 2nd  BERL Regional Rankings Report 2012
The Report ranks 20 largest settlements in New Zealand. Timaru jumps four spots to take second ranking in 2012. Averaging 3.3 percent per annum over the last five years, Timaru has had the fastest GDP growth of all twenty cities ranked. Full BERL Regional Rankings Report 2012.
Collaborate CanterburyChristchurch Rebuild Information
Presentations from workshop held on 24 April 2013:
1. Collaborate Canterbury
2. Infrastructure (Horizontal) Rebuild
3. Vertical Rebuild
Sectors to create the largest number of jobs in the last 10 years.
Timaru has a labour market of 23,419 jobs (Infometrics Timaru Annual Economic Profile 2012) which is 1.1% of national employment.
Timaru’s Economy Grows 4.4%Latest statistics sourced by Aoraki Development Business and Tourism from the 2012 Timaru District Economic Profile show that Timaru’s economy has grown 4.4% in the year to March 2012 compared to New Zealand’s economy at 2.3%.
The economic value of potential irrigation in Canterbury
This report is hugely significant for South Canterbury as it continues to develop an understanding of the economic value of irrigating land and the benefits this can bring to the community as a whole. See full report
Canterbury Water Management Strategy – Implementation Summaries
A simple and clear summary of the recommendations for water management completed by seven Canterbury Water Management Strategy Zone Committees.See full report

In 2011, Aoraki Polytechnic
- directly employed a total of 192 FTE1 staff, and the equivalent of a further 28 contractors
- attracted 2,147 domestic students (EFTS2), and 28 international students spent $13.5 million locally to operate the Polytechnic

Total gross expenditure by students and the Polytechnic operations totalled $51.8 million over the year. Adjusting for out-of-region spending, and for multiplier effects, we estimate this generated the equivalent of 702 full-time jobs for one year.

Download Economic Impact Report (PDF - 346KB)

Infometrics Reports - Economic Profiles

Annual economic profile Timaru 2011 - [0.7MB PDF]

Labour market and economic profile South Canterbury 2011 - [1.0MB PDF]

Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM)

CAM report contains the latest data from the Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM). Variables include guest nights, occupancy rates, accommodation type and origin of guest (international & domestic).

Timaru District CAM report - September 2012 [1MB PDF]

Mackenzie District CAM report - September 2012 [1MB PDF]

For the most current reports see the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website

Paymark – Retail spending reports

Paymark has developed what has arguably become the best EFTPOS system in the world. The system, known as the Paymark EFTPOS network, processes 75% of all electronic transactions in New Zealand on behalf of more than 50 card issuers and acquirers. More than 74,000 merchants and over 115,000 terminals are currently connected to the network.

Paymark produces monthly reports that include figures for South Canterbury.

Click here for the latest publication

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