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Gisborne the only region to experience fall in spending over new year

With Gisborne bereft of cruise ship and Rhythm and Vines festival visitors, credit and debit card spending over the new year fell more than $300,000.

Gisborne had already experienced the nation's biggest fall in Boxing Day spending compared with 2020 — a 14 percent drop to $800,000.

Latest data from electronic payment processor Worldline shows that for the seven days ended January 4, $7.8 million of electronic transactions were processed across its network here.

That is 4 percent down on last year. Gisborne was the only region in the country to experience a fall in spending.

A Worldline spokesman said across the nation, annual spending growth was highest in Taranaki (+17 percent) and lowest in Gisborne (-4).

“Noticeably, spending in Gisborne over these seven days, which included the New Year's Eve long weekend, was also below that of 2019/20 (-3 percent).”

“Overall, spending at liquor merchants on New Year's Eve 2021 was higher than 2020 across all Worldline NZ-defined regions except Gisborne and West Coast.”

The Rhythm and Vines festival substantially increases the Gisborne population over the New Year holiday period, which contributes significantly to the local economy and increases sales in local retail stores.

Despite the 2021 R&V being postponed to Easter, impacts on main-street retailers appear to have not been too bad, with local shoppers taking the place of out-of-towners.

Black Bull Liquor Gisborne store manager Lisa Palmer said while the store had not been “as busy” compared with last year, there had not been a significant difference.

“I think the locals came out,” she said. “Normally the locals leave town a lot earlier but this time we still got to see all the locals come and do their shopping.

“We didn't find much of a loss, the locals had our back.”

A Paper Plus Gisborne spokesperson said they did extremely well during the holiday period because “all the locals came to town”.

Sales during the New Year period were better than previous years.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in Easter when all the R&V attendees will be coming to Gisborne,” she said.

Restaurant and eateries reap the benefits of R&V and the absence of festival-goers was felt over the new year.

Rhonda Bryant-Corbett of Verve Cafe said business was not as busy as previous years. “Lines used to be out the doors other years.”

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