Building for more growth

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Zealand is growing strongly – stronger than most countries.

Under the National-led Government we have got back on our feet after the Global Financial Crisis, got people into jobs, got back to surplus, and dealt with natural disasters.

The challenge now is to sustain that growth, build for more growth, and act for the people most under pressure.

Our Prime Minister, Bill English, and his united team are building on the successes of the last few years, with a clear and strong plan to make Kiwis better off at work and at home, with the means to achieve it.

Recent data paints a good picture of New Zealand’s stable, responsible economic management and our resilience which is recognised around the world.

The Government’s books have again exceeded forecasts with a $1.4 billion surplus for the eight months to February. Budget 2016 had forecast a $568 million surplus.

This good result is thanks to higher tax revenues and lower than expected expenditure, and shows the benefits of the Government’s strong economic management.

It is good to see the trend of growing tax revenues continue as we head into Budget 2017. We’re also making progress on our debt target, with net debt now 23.5 per cent of GDP. Reducing debt to around 20 per cent of GDP by 2020 will improve the resilience of the economy to future shocks.

Further good news comes with Moody’s rating agency reaffirming New Zealand's gold-standard credit rating and commenting that we will be one of the fastest-growing Aaa rated economies over the next few years.

This latest report from Moody's underlines the benefits of all the work New Zealand has done over the last few years to strengthen our economy and our country's finances. It's a tribute to the hard work of all Kiwis and a position we can all take real confidence from.

We know that when the regions do well, New Zealand does well and recent data tells a good story.

Solid economic growth continues with 12 out of 15 regions growing in the year to March 2016, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Strongest growing regions were Bay of Plenty with a 7.7 per cent increase in GDP, Auckland (6 per cent) and Otago (4.8 per cent) while Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Manawatu-Whanganui grew by more than 3 per cent.

Turning to jobs and the latest job growth data shows the regions are leading the charge in job adverts.

Trade Me reported that in the three months to March almost every region in the country had double-digit percentage jumps in new job listings compared to last year. This was led by Gisborne (up 40 per cent), the Waikato (up 36.5 per cent), and West Coast (up 32.4 per cent).

And the latest ANZ job survey show every single one of the 11 less-urbanised regions is experiencing stronger annual job ad growth than any of the three main centres.

For example, Otago and Waikato job ads are up 36 per cent on a year ago.

The National-led Government will continue to implement its strong economic plan, focusing on building better public services and infrastructure, steadily reducing net debt, and ensuring the benefits of economic growth are shared with Kiwi families across New Zealand.