Regional round-up – Northland
The economy in Northland is benefitting from higher export earnings for meat, dairy, forestry and horticultural products. On top of this, government interest and investment in the region mean residents are feeling positive about the local economy.
The numbers in Westpac’s Regional Roundup show that house prices are up, and unemployment has halved in the past two years thanks to increased jobs in the agricultural, tourism and construction sectors.
Forestry, in particular, has a huge demand for new workers. Not only is it one of the fastest growing sectors in the region, but workers are also required to replace those retiring or changing jobs. An article in the New Zealand Herald states that there are about 900 forestry workers in Northland, and Andrew Widdowson, northern area manager for Hancock Forest Management, is quoted as saying between 70 and 100 more forestry workers were needed in the region this year.
Produce company Seeka announced in July that it was to invest $18 million in its Northland post-harvest business (packing facilities and coolstores in Kerikeri) over the next three years. It says this investment will “significantly lift the capacity of the business and give growers better harvest timing across all varieties handled – kiwifruit, avocados and citrus”.
On August 31, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced $460 million of investment in Northland's transport network over the next three years. He says the funding was about improving safety, building stronger links to keep communities connected and supporting economic opportunities.
Northland is also set to benefit from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), with $61 million given to the region.
Northland Inc CEO Dr David Wilson says the new PGF provides a real opportunity to accelerate development in the provinces that will ultimately benefit all of New Zealand.
He says that by actively focusing on addressing infrastructure deficits and building on regional strengths pressures on provinces can be addressed, enabling opportunities to leverage investment and create jobs.
In Northland, Andrew Partington is Finance New Zealand’s business partner on the ground. He has a wealth of experience in sourcing finance solutions, and specialises in forestry equipment finance, equipment lease finance, plant and equipment finance, corporate asset finance, healthcare equipment finance, and commercial property finance.