GDP shows accelerating recovery for New Zealand economy

13:37, July 14, 2011      

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New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.8 percent in the March quarter, showing a slight acceleration in economic activity after a 0.5-percent rise in the previous quarter, the government statistics agency announced Thursday.

Manufacturing had mainly driven the "strong growth," which occurred despite the Feb. 22 earthquake that killed at least 181 people in the second city of Christchurch, said Statistics New Zealand national accounts manager Rachael Milicich.

"While some businesses in Christchurch were adversely affected, the vast majority were able to continue operating, and the earthquake resulted in some activity that would not normally have taken place," she said in a statement.

Manufacturing saw the most significant movement in the quarter, rising by 3.6 percent, with large increases in machinery, metal product, and food and beverage manufacturing.

Real estate and business services were up 1 percent, and the wholesale trade saw its sixth consecutive quarterly increase, rising 1.5 percent.

Construction activity was down by 4.3 percent due to decreases in residential and non-residential building.

GDP, measured by production, increased 1.5 percent in the year to the end of March, but measured by expenditure it rose 1.8 percent.

Notable movements in the expenditure measure in the March quarter were the volume of spending by New Zealand households, which was up 0.4 percent, mainly due to an increase in durable goods such as furniture and appliances.

Government expenditure was up 1.2 percent, with increases in central and local government partly due to the Feb. 22 earthquake, while investment in fixed assets was down 1.3 percent, with the largest fall being in non-residential building.

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