Christchurch quake major factor construction work decline in New Zealand

12:30, June 08, 2011      

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New Zealand's construction industry saw a 6.3-percent drop in building work in the last quarter, with the Christchurch earthquake in February accounting for much of the decrease, according to the government's statistics agency.

The seasonally adjusted fall in the volume of building work to the quarter ending March was led by a 10.4-percent decrease in non- residential building work, while residential building work was down 2.1 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

"We don't normally comment on regional information for the value of building work because this survey is not designed to produce accurate regional estimates. However, the information we have suggests that in Canterbury, building activity decreased significantly, at least in part due to the Feb. 22 earthquake," said business statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver.

Even excluding Canterbury, the volume of building nationally was down in the residential and non-residential sectors, said Holmes-Oliver.

The drop in the volume of non-residential building work reversed the 9.2-percent rise in the quarter to December 2010 quarter, and was the first decline since the December 2009 quarter.

The drop in the volume of residential building work was the third consecutive fall, having dropped 12.4 percent over the previous two quarters.

In the year ending March, the unadjusted value of all building work was 11.02 billion NZ dollars (8.99 billion U.S. dollars), up 4.5 percent year on year, while residential building work was 6.18 billion NZ dollars, up 5.9 percent, and non-residential building work was 4.83 billion NZ dollars, up 2.7 percent.

Data on building activity is obtained each quarter primarily by a postal survey of around 3,500 builders, owners, and other building consent applicants.

Source: Xinhua
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