Trends in Farming
The importance of farming in the region's economy is revealed by the high proportion in the Blenheim Employment District engaged in primary industry, 27·7 per cent, compared with the national figure of 16·06 per cent. During the period 1951–52 to 1959–60 the number of sheep shorn has increased by 22·17 per cent and of lambs shorn by 57·63 per cent, both rates being below their respective national rates. It is clear from the figures contained in the statistical table that in the 30-year period, 1921–51, the number of sheep declined in some counties or hardly increased in others. Following on the introduction of aerial topdressing the prospects have improved, but it is very striking that the increases in livestock numbers are concentrated in a few areas, so that Marlborough County has shown a 42·01-per-cent increase in sheep shorn and a 129·94-per-cent increase in lambs shorn. The figures for Kaikoura are respectively 25·03 per cent and 8451 per cent. The post-war development has therefore seen a greater differentiation occurring within the region and the focussing of development upon the richer and more favoured lowland areas.
The concentration of agricultural development in the lowland area helps one to explain the rapid increase, 52 per cent, of the urban population during 1951–61, most of the increase occurring in Blenheim, which grew by 69·56 per cent. The borough contains at least 42 per cent of the region's total population, but the inclusion of population in the immediate vicinity takes the proportion to almost 60 per cent. Whilst 26·05 per cent of the national labour force are engaged in manufacturing industries, the figure for Marlborough is only 16·66 per cent. Significantly, the proportion engaged in food-processing industries is a little above the national average, whilst the proportion engaged in clothing and textiles, metals and engineering is conspicuously below. Most of this employment is located in Blenheim, which acts also as the principal commercial centre for the region. In the period 1953–61 the total labour force increased by 7·14 per cent, well below the national average, but that employed in manufacturing increased by 25 per cent, which is equivalent to the national rate of increase. The region contains a small fishing and whaling industry and its industrial salt has a ready market within the Dominion.