An improving rural sector is being cited as one of the reasons Southland has taken the top spot in a new regional economic survey.
The ASB's Regional Economic Scoreboard saw Southland leap seven places to top this quarter's data.
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ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said a healthy rural sector has helped boost the region's fortunes.
"Things were definitely playing out in Southland's favour, with good spring growing conditions, the Mycoplasma Bovis situation looking more positive over time, and lamb prices setting record highs," he said.
Waikato climbed 10 places over the quarter and nabbing the silver medal.
However Mr Tuffley said he is cautious about the dairy region's outlook for 2019.
"We're a little circumspect about the region's outlook, particularly as Fonterra trimmed its milk price forecast twice over the December quarter."
"Is this as good as it gets when it comes to milk prices? That question will be on the minds of many in this dairying region as they look to 2019," he said.
Meanwhile Northland slipped to 13th spot in the survey, although the local horticulture industry is looking positive.
"There are some bright spots on the horizon for Northland, with horticulture, forestry and tourism holding strong and the prospect of a lift in economic activity as summer gets into full swing."
Read the full ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard here.