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The Buoyant Economy in the Nelson Tasman Region

Known as the ‘north of the south’, the Nelson Tasman region offers sunshine, an attractive lifestyle and a strong, fertile location where businesses can grow. Nestled in the northwest corner of the South Island, the area is overflowing with beautiful scenery and growth opportunities.

Nelson-Tasman has everything a new business could want: a diversified economy, strong population growth, an enjoyable lifestyle and growth rates that are outstripping the rest of the country.


The region offers an attractive lifestyle to its population. With plenty of sunshine, golden beaches and three national parks to explore, this corner of the South Island lets those looking for a sea change find a home.

Everything that attracts new residents to the area also attracts tourists, which means customers (and profits) are pulled from locals and tourists alike. This is especially good news for the hospitality sector. There was a seven per cent growth in visitor nights in 2016, with reports of accommodation being difficult to find, especially in the summer months. With the tourism industry continuing to grow, businesses capitalising on the lifestyle on offer in the region have many opportunities to expand.

Population Growth

Nineteen per cent of the population in this area was born outside of New Zealand and the population is expected to grow by almost 10 percent through 2023 because of a continued influx of people.

Strong population growth has led to an increase in building and infrastructure projects. The Nelson City Council is expecting that over 6000 new homes will be needed between 2018 and 2043.

The growing population supports the growth of more than the building industry. A larger community also needs new restaurants, shops, health facilities and everything else required to settle and live in an area, keeping the jobs market in Nelson buoyant.

Diversified Economy

The Nelson-Tasman region also has a diversified economy that’s not become overly reliant on any one industry. The tourism and building industries continue to grow, but the region has been a primary producer for a long time and this area continues to grow in strength.

The region has a strong timber industry and grows a number of crops, including kiwifruit, apples and berries. Nelson’s port is the largest deep-sea fishing port in Australasia. The government’s focus on negotiating free trade agreements and minimising red tape has brought better conditions for the primary exporters in the region.

Nelson also produces all of New Zealand’s commercially grown hops. Much of the hops stay in the area, making it the craft-brewing capital of New Zealand, where locals and visitors can enjoy a great-tasting, truly local beer.

Growth Rates

Statistics from 2016 show that the Nelson-Tasman GDP had a growth rate of 4.4 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent nationally. Job listings in the area also outpaced the rest of the country, with a growth of 36.4 per cent compared with 12.4 per cent growth nationally.

This is good news for existing and new business owners, as jobs will continue to bring people to the area, which means a continued influx of new customers. The buoyant economy in the region offers businesses support when starting a new enterprise. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the growth to build their dream business and the dream lifestyle to go along with it.