9 Jul 2012

Spending surges in Canterbury

6:41 pm on 9 July 2012

The Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce is predicting the region's economic growth will remain the highest in New Zealand for the next five to 10 years.

Spending in Canterbury is increasing faster than in the rest of the country as it recovers from the earthquakes, including the February quake in 2011 which devastated central Christchurch and other parts of the region.

Electronic payment company Paymark on Monday released figures showing the value of transactions in Canterbury was 6.8% in June than a year ago.

The growth is the highest of any region and the national average was 5.1%.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend says he is confident it is just the tip of the iceberg for Canterbury and its economy will feel the impact of billions of dollars worth of rebuilding work for years to come.

I am absolutely convinced that positive economic growth is locked in to this city into the next five to 10 years - there's no doubt about that. We've incurred about $30 billion worth of damage - most of that's covered by insurance. We will be the beneficiaries of enormous cashflows.

But Paymark's head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston says though spending is up, it is important to note it is about 5% to 10% behind where it would have been without the quakes.

Mr Whiston says Canterbury's growth is so high because it has come from a low base created by a sharp drop in spending soon after the February quake.

Meanwhile, just over $3.6 billion was spent nationally through Paymark in June this year.

Spending on credit cards rose 6.6% on the same month in 2011, outpacing growth in debit card spending at 3.9%.