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Economic Environment

The Manawatū District economy is distinct from our neighbours, our business and rural sectors are affected, and respond differently, to the ever changing markets and policies.  We produce a quarterly dashboard report about our economic indicators to inform and assist the business, rural and residential communities. 


December 2019

District economy remains strong but will be impacted by COVID-19

The performance of the District economy over 2019 was strong and the long term outlook for the District and wider Manawatū-Whanganui Region remains positive.  The combined effects of the global spread of COVID-19 and drought conditions however, pose a short-term risk to the domestic and local economy over 2020.

COVID-19 will impact in particular on regional economies with greater dependency on tourism, tertiary education, export trade and imports of inputs to production.  While tourism and international education are not key industries for the local economy, the Manawatū District is a strong producer of agri-food products and manufactures therefore we can expect economic activity to be negatively impacted by the global impacts of COVID-19.

View the full Quarterly Report to December 2019 (2MB pdf)


September 2019 

Manawatū District Economy goes from strength to strength

Manawatū District economy continues to lead the region going from strength to strength and exceeding the national growth rate.

The economy grew by 3.1 per cent to the year ended September. This is the highest growth rate in the Manawatū-Whanganui region and exceeds the national growth rate of 2.4 per cent.

The Manawatū-Whanganui region includes Manawatū District Council, Whanganui District Council, Palmerston North City Council, Rangitikei District Council, Tararua Dictrict Council, Horowhenua District Council, and Ruapehu District Council.

This strong economic performance is driven by population growth, favourable trade conditions, high employment, house price growth, robust consumer and tourism spending and high levels of investment flowing into the district.

Manawatū District Council’s economist Stacey Bell, says that construction was one of the stand-outs in this growth with the overall value of construction investment increasing by 50.2 per cent to the year ended September 2019, from the previous year.

Read the full story 

View September Economic Dashboard (113KB pdf)  


June 2019 

Manawatū District Economy joins billion dollar club 

The value of the Manawatū District economy surpassed $1bn in value for the first time. 

GDP increased by $34m over the year growing an impressive 3.5%.   This compares with 2.5% growth for New Zealand and 2.7% for Manawatū-Whanganui. 

Manawatū is definitely well ahead of most of New Zealand in terms of our economic performance and confirms the strength of the local economy, says Manawatū District economist Stacey Bell.

“Against a backdrop of global uncertainty, the continuation of strong export demand conditions for our goods and services and healthy commodity prices continues to boost the Manawatu District Economy. 

The service industries are responding to strong income growth from our productive sector, jobs are being created, people are moving here to take up employment, people are earning money and households are confident to spend”. 

The local economy continues to be a good news story for the Manawatū District.

All statistics relate to year ended 30 June 2019

View the June Economic Dashboard (152KB pdf)


March 2019

Manawatū District economy showing no signs of slowing down.

The Manawatū District economy is showing no signs of slowing down according to the latest quarterly economic dashboard.

The District is benefiting considerably from strong global demand for our agricultural products. Despite the global slowdown, there is no sign of demand for good quality New Zealand food products declining at all. This is driving employment opportunities and increasing living standards in our District.

While global conditions will always have an impact on a trading nation such as New Zealand, economic conditions in the Manawatū District (and the wider region) are strong.  

Manawatū District Council economist Stacey Bell attributes the strong local economy to the strength of trade conditions, robust levels of investment, strong population and jobs growth, lifestyle options as well as our proximity to Palmerston North City which means a greater range of opportunities for our residents. 

“There are more educational and training options, and greater opportunities to advance in our career of choice,” she says.

Commercial and local and central government investment across the district and the region is boosting spending and employment and is expected to continue to do so through 2019 and beyond. 

“The future is looking bright for the residents of the Manawatū."

 View the March Economic dashboard (169KB pdf)