NZ economy’s resilience shown despite COVID impacts

The resilience of the economy in the face of the impact of the Delta outbreak was reflected in today’s GDP figures and reinforces the Government’s actions to support businesses and workers to secure the recovery, Grant Robertson said.

GDP declined a less than expected 3.7 percent in the September quarter, following an increase of 2.4 percent in the previous June quarter and a 1.5 percent rise in the quarter before that. The Treasury forecast a quarterly decrease of 6 percent in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update. Economic commentators had initially forecast the economy would contract around 7 percent before revising that down using more recent data to around 4.5 percent.

On an annual basis, the economy was 4.9 percent larger than the previous year. The size of the economy was $345 billion.

“A decline in the September quarter was not unexpected as New Zealand raised Alert Level restrictions in mid-August in response to the Delta outbreak. But the strength of the economy that had built up before the outbreak put us in a strong position to cushion the impacts of Delta with support from the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Resurgence Support Payment to protect jobs and livelihoods,” Grant Robertson said.

“We have already seen recent economic reports that show household spending has rebounded as restrictions have eased. Businesses are also employing more people while job ads have risen. The greater freedoms under the new traffic light system and gradual opening of the border will support the economy and accelerate the recovery.

“It shows our actions since the start of the pandemic to protect lives and livelihoods are working and has been the best economic response. We know, however, that the impact of Delta is uneven on some sectors and regions. The global environment also remains volatile as uncertainty surrounds the impact of the Omicron variant. We will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation to secure their recovery.

“Our focus remains on keeping New Zealanders safe, accelerating the recovery and dealing with long-standing issues such as climate change, housing and child wellbeing despite the uncertainty and volatility globally around the ongoing impact of COVID-19,” Grant Robertson said.