Buller District Council

Buller economic update

19th August, 2021

Economic activity in Buller District grew 10.4% over the year to June 2021, according to Infometrics provisional GDP estimates.

The monitor report released by Infometrics today (Thursday) shows Buller outpaced the national average (4.2%) and the West Coast (2.6%), an abnormally strong result as the previous year includes the lockdown-affected June 2020 quarter.

Buller’s GDP over the year to June 2021 was 12.9% higher than in 2019, indicative of strong underlying growth.

Employment of Buller residents has been steady over the past year, with small gains in agriculture, tourism, and health off-setting losses in construction, retail, and public administration. The number of Jobseeker Support recipients in Buller grew modestly compared to the national average in 2020, however, they have held steady at this elevated level, with more than 100 more Jobseekers in June 2021 than in 2019.

Consumer spending in Buller leads the region, with a 6.6% annual increase, compared to 1.1% for the region overall. Strong domestic tourism has been a key driver of Buller’s spending growth. Buller’s tourism operators continue to make the most from a captive audience of New Zealanders with limited overseas options this winter.

Domestic tourist card spending was up $12m or 34% in Buller over the year to June 2021, compared to 2019.

Non-residential consents have jumped up in Buller, driven by the $12m consent for the Buller Health Centre. Residential consents have grown 40% over the year to June 2021, including 29 new dwellings consented in the June quarter alone, the highest quarter since 2012. Flood recovery activity is likely to translate to higher consents in coming quarters, although the bulk of recovery activity is unlikely to need consent.

Buller’s economic resurgence has driven extreme growth in house values, growing 41.9% to $274,331 over the past year, compared to growth of 27.3% to an average value of $922,421 nationally. The number of house sales in Buller has more than doubled over the past year.

Buller District Council Mayor Jamie Cleine said the data reflects the solid foundations created by the district’s economic development strategy and the projects Council stimulated to leverage off the Provincial Growth Fund.

“Despite the immediate impact the recent flood has had on our Westport community, I am optimistic that it will have created a small economic boost through spending by contractors and additional personnel who were brought into Westport to assist during the state of emergency.

Mayor Cleine also believes Council’s recovery plan will help keep the local economy buoyant.

“Central Govt committed one million dollars assistance immediately during the flood period and are committed to supporting the Buller District and its community through additional funding packages over the coming 12-months which will assist the economy and community as we transition back to business as usual.”

He said the indicators were positive for the district’s future.

“The numbers are good, our community is strong, there’s no reason we why we can’t stay on the up and up.”


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For more information please contact:

Buller District Council Mayor

Jamie Cleine



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