GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy

GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.

Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.

“While today’s data is technically in the positive, it remains a reminder of the reckless spending and economic mismanagement of the previous government. New Zealanders are feeling the long shadow of a prolonged period of high inflation, with high interest rates contributing to a deeper and more persistent downturn than previously forecast.

“I know how tough it is for people right now who are still struggling with the ongoing cost of living crisis. We have a plan to turn things around. Our Government knows New Zealanders are hurting and need hope for the future. That’s why we are rebuilding the economy so that workers, businesses and families can get ahead once more.

“Today’s data confirms the Government’s approach to strengthening and growing the economy is the right one - careful government spending, lower taxes for hard-working New Zealanders and rebuilding New Zealand’s economic foundations.

“While it’s hard to see through the immediate conditions, Treasury’s Budget forecasts show an improving outlook from the second half of this year, with inflation coming under control, interest rates dropping and growth recovering.

“Inflation is tracking in the right direction. Last week we saw food prices in New Zealand increase just 0.2 per cent in the 12 months to May 2024, the smallest increase since September 2018.

“This will limit the pace of price increases for everyday items like food and groceries and will help families who are struggling with the cost of the weekly shop.

“From 31 July Kiwis can also look forward to tax relief in their pay packets and eligible families will also benefit from the FamilyBoost payment of up to 25 per cent of their early childhood education costs which kicks in from 1 July.

“If you haven’t already done so, visit Budget.govt.nz/taxcalculator to see how much you and your family will benefit from our tax relief package.

“Our Government is working hard on the drivers of productive growth: better education and skills, improving infrastructure, more competition and less red tape, stronger global connections and a smarter approach to science and innovation,” Nicola Willis says.