Our growth is fastest, says Census


Its official, Nelson is the fastest growing region in the South Island and its Tasman neighbours are a close second.

Nelson had 46,437 people at the 2013 Census, an 8.3 per cent increase from 2006, faster than any other region outside of Auckland.

The figures were released last week by Statistics New Zealand and showed the national average increase was 5.3 per cent.

It showed many Nelson areas had population increases, with Ngawhatu adding more than 1000 people over the seven years, mainly due to increasing sub-divisions in the area.

Nelson is now the country’s 13th largest region, one place behind Tasman, which enjoyed a six per cent increase to its population, to 47,157.

“The Nelson region’s growth rate between 2006 and 2013 was nearly three times its rate in the five years before that. Its population also makes it the 13th-biggest in the country,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson says.

The effects of that growth is evident and bodes well for improving our infrastructure and public services says local MP Nick Smith.

“We all know that Nelson is a great place to live and these figures confirm that people continue to be attracted here in droves,” he says. “This Census data is good news for our region because it puts us on firm footing to get our fair share of the limited government funding that is available for services like health, education and roading.”

Mayor-elect Rachel Reese says the data backs up what many Nelsonians have thought for years.

“The numbers fit with my observations locally.  We are a growing region and we need to plan well for that growth.”

Reaction to the figures has been varied but Nelson’s strong growth has caused some cause for concern from other regions. Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule was quoted as saying he was worried that Nelson had such strong growth because it was in competition with Hawke’s Bay to attract similar people.

Rachel says Nelson is already a popular place to retire but the key to the region prospering is to bring “high value” jobs to the region.

“Our local industries are well positioned to lead New Zealand’s economic growth post global financial crisis.  Job growth in high value industries like aquaculture, construction innovation,  and the creative IT sector are all positive for Nelson.

We need people in their 30s and 40s settling here to buy the businesses of our 60 and 70 year olds as they retire.”