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Buller’s economy reflecting current economic climate

16 Nov 2023

Buller District’s economy has grown at a similar level to the rest of the country, according to the latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor.

Buller’s provisional GDP grew 1.9% in the year to September 2023, just ahead of the West Coast region and the national average, which both showed 1.7% growth.

This is a slight drop on last year’s GDP figures (to September 2022) when Buller’s GDP grew by 2.1%, compared with an increase of 2.6% nationally and 3.4% across the West Coast region.

Infometrics data shows economic growth was led by Buller’s mining industry. The mining industry added 50 jobs over the past year, followed by health and transport, while agriculture, forestry and fishing shed over 30 jobs. Overall, employment for residents living in Buller rose 0.7%, although this is lower than the West Coast region (2.8%) and New Zealand (3.0%).

West Coast Region's dairy payout for the 2022/2023 season is expected to be approximately $390 million, $50 million lower than last season (a $17m decrease for Buller), assuming that production levels from last season are maintained. The total dairy payout for New Zealand is expected to be $1,972 million less than last season.

Positive notes come from the tourism data, which shows ongoing recovery with guest nights in Buller up by 53.1%. That’s consistent with a national increase of 48.9% but below the 70.4% increase in the West Coast region overall. Westland’s guest nights increased by more than 90% from the previous year. Visitors stayed a total of 1,264,000 nights in West Coast region during the year to September 2023, which was up from 741,600 a year ago.

Electronic card consumer spending is up 14.9% in the West Coast overall, with Westland showing the biggest increase – 37.4% and Buller up 4.3%.

Buller’s house values remained largely static (0.1% increase), with a small rise in the West Coast market of 2.5%. This bucks the national trend of an overall drop in values of 5.9%. House sales, residential consents, and car registrations have dropped across the board.


The average current house value was $332,716 in Buller District, up from $315,199 the previous year. This compares with $908,853 in New Zealand and $360,497 in West Coast Region.

 The value of Buller’s non-residential consents dropped by more than 55%, with a 23.1% drop Coast-wide and a 3.9% increase nationally.


Buller District Council Mayor Jamie Cleine says the report shows that Buller’s economic performance indicators reflect the current economic climate across the West Coast, and, for the most part, the rest of the country.

“The report shows a lot of positive local economic indicators including a slightly better than average GDP increase. Most of the challenges being experienced in Buller are consistent with what’s going on in the rest of the Coast and wider New Zealand.

“Seeing that Westland picked up the lion’s share of the international tourist dollars is great for that area but it would be great if Buller would attract more people to our stunning part of the region.”

“Higher building costs and higher interest rates have dampened demand for new housing across New Zealand and Buller is no different. The data shows New Zealand’s economy looks to have expanded further in the September 2023 quarter, but momentum has slowed as economic pressures hit. Like all of New Zealand, Buller will front up to high inflation and rising interest rates as best we can in a fairly subdued economic environment.” 

The Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor publishes regular reports about local economies for the quarters ending March, June, September, and December.


For more information please contact:
Mayor Jamie Cleine
Buller District Council