A surge in dairy exports and strong visitor numbers saw New Zealand’s economic growth pick up in the September quarter.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand show the economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the three months to June 30, up from a revised 0.6 per cent in the March quarter.
Growth for the year was flat at 2.5 per cent. Coming at a time of near record population growth due to immigration, economic growth per person was just 0.6 per cent.
While there were signs that the construction boom may have peaked, exports jumped 5.2 per cent, the largest quarterly rise in nearly 20 years.
Statistics New Zealand said the jump was primarily down to strong exports of timber and dairy products.
Dairy export volumes surged 19 per cent, running down stock inventory which had built up in the previous quarter.
Retail trade and accommodation also jumped, up 2.8 per cent, driven by accommodation and food and beverage sales.
Statistics New Zealand said the Lions tour and the World Masters Games boosted the tourism industry during what is usually a quiet time of the year.
Construction meanwhile dropped, for the second quarter in a row. It was the first time construction activity has dropped in consecutive quarters since early 2012.
Kiwibank senior economist Jeremy Couchman said all of the groups which make up the construction group in the economic growth figures shrunk, partly as earthquake-related construction activity in Canterbury declines.
“However, with significant underlying demand for housing and infrastructure projects, we feel that the current slowdown from last year’s rapid expansion in construction activity is linked to capacity pressures faced by the sector rather than declining demand.”
Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the slowing housing market was having a direct impact on growth, with a fall in financial services and rental and real estate services.