The economy remains on track for moderate growth over the next few years, despite growth predictably easing a little in the September quarter, Finance Minister Bill English says.
Gross domestic product grew 0.2 per cent in the three months to 30 September. This took annual growth – from the September quarter 2011 to the September quarter 2012 - to 2 per cent, after revisions by Statistics New Zealand to reflect extra data.
“After coming off a good growing season and a strong year for agriculture, other indicators had already pointed to a slightly softer performance in the third quarter,” Mr English says.
“However, there are signs that the pace of growth has picked up in recent months, with rising consumer and business confidence and a further strengthening of construction activity.
“We shouldn’t get distracted by the quarterly movements, particularly with the global environment remaining uncertain. What’s important is that the economy is on track for 2 per cent-plus growth over the next few years - and that’s the focus of the Government’s programme to increase productivity and competitiveness.
“We’re also taking many concrete steps through the Business Growth Agenda to help support businesses in creating jobs. The unemployment rate is too high and this will be a particular focus for the Government in 2013.
“Despite global headwinds, New Zealand is performing better than many other countries. We’re seeing positive signs through higher savings, households and businesses paying down debt, and interest rates and inflation remaining low.”