A couple of very large numbers made their appearance this week. One came from the International Visitor Survey which showed a massive 38% rise in spending by visitors to New Zealand over the past year. The tourism sector is in very good health and this is one of the important offsets to weakness in the dairying sector which will keep overall economic growth up and discourage the Reserve Bank from contemplating rate cuts beyond probably one more 0.25% reduction.
The other number was the net migration gain of 62,477 people this past year. For Auckland the net gain was near 38,000 for which 12,700 extra houses are needed. But in the past year only 8,700 or so building consents have been issued. The Auckland shortage is still getting worse and that is why this current lull in the market as buyers look for bargains elsewhere is only temporary.
But because the urge struck me early this week I have decided to lead off the Overview with a few thoughts on driverless cars and what we can do in them.