As New Zealand’s economy heads south, the signs have never been so clear the country needs Southland, the region’s mayor says.

After last week ASB’s regional economic scoreboard, which showed Southland as the strongest growing region in New Zealand — knocking Auckland off the top spot — more data released yesterday showed the region was thriving.

According to Seek NZ Employment Dashboard, Southland was the only region in the country to have an increase in job advertisements from May 2024 to June 2024.

The region had growth of 3%, while major centres as Auckland and Wellington had drops of 9% and Otago 10%.

Seek NZ country manager Rob Clark said an increase in manufacturing, transport and logistics positions drove overall ad growth for the region in June, “resulting in it being the only region to see job ads rise last month”.

“As a relatively small area, Southland tends to be more changeable than other regions, and this has certainly been true over the past 12 months, with job ads rising and falling regularly.”

Southland District Mayor Rob Scott said while the news was great, it was not a surprise to him.

“This highlights the fact that New Zealand needs Southland to carry on, given there is other parts of the country that are in recession and decline.

“The potential has always been here and it’s still here, but we’re starting to sort of prove ourselves now — we’ve actually always punched above our weight.”

He moved from Wellington to the deep South in 2006 because he saw the huge potential the region could offer and he fell in love with the lifestyle.

“Just to not have to sit in traffic and work in a city bustle … You can actually have a much better quality of life and still earn a good income.”

Southland Business Chamber chief executive Sheree Carey agreed.

“We are not surprised about the increase in job ads in Southland, highlighting the region’s resilience and growing opportunities.

“The announcement of the 20 year Tiwai deal has in turn ensured confidence in a flow-on of industries to expand and also new industry to invest in the region, bringing a diverse range of employment opportunities across key sectors such as agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, tourism and healthcare.”

She said people were drawn to work in Southland for various reasons.

“Its high quality of life, affordable living costs, strong community spirit and proximity to stunning natural landscape.

“Whether you’re looking for career growth, a balanced lifestyle, or a supportive community, Southland has much to offer.”

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