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New Zealand economy tipped to speed up

Published: 3:39PM Monday September 30, 2013 Source: ONE News

After years of sluggish growth, New Zealand's economy looks to be taking off.

Treasury today forecast a surge of growth in the final half of 2013 that should see unemployment continue to fall.

It expects GDP growth to accelerate to around 1% in each of the two remaining quarters of 2013.

This should mean next year we will start to see more jobs created and it will flow through to higher wages, said ONE News political editor Corin Dann.

Westpac Chief Economist. Dominick Stephens said he thinks the Canterbury rebuild is a major driver of greater consumer confidence.
"It's creating jobs down in Canterbury and it's giving some spark to the economy," he said.

The Reserve Bank forecasting economic activity to expand at levels not seen since the start of the global financial crisis.

Treasury's September Monthly Economic Indicators are forecasting even stronger growth than the Reserve Bank of 2% in the final half of this year.

"The construction boom is going to get even more intense in 2014 which will bring the rate of unemployment down," Mr Stephens said.

People positive

And it seems Kiwis are feeling more postive too.

In the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll, 57% of people said they felt the economy would improve in the next 12 months, up five points since the last poll.

Those feeling the economy would get worse dipped four points to 24%.

Dann says with the economy on the up, going into election year, expect National to start talking up its credentials.
Prime Minister John Key predicts a "smaller deficit than people expect".

"The Government's confident it'll meet its target of getting back into surplus," he said.

But Labour leader David Cunliffe said the Christchurch rebuild is boosting the economy.

"We've got $30 billion worth of insurance money to spend in Christchurch. Goodness me, if you couldn't get the economy past first gear in those circumstances, I mean a school child could do that," Mr Cunliffe said.

Tax cuts?
Despite the strong signs, do not expect a Government "lolly scramble" next year, Corin Dann said.

Should the economy grow too fast, the Reserve Bank is standing by to hose it down with interest rate hikes, he said.

However, Dann said, "looking at how close things are in the polls you would have to imagine that National will look at some sort of sweetenmer going into the election."

He said he pressed John Key today on whether he would consider tax cuts if the economy was to grow strongly.

Mr Key claimed he had not thought about it much, but he could not rule that out.

"You'd have to wonder that going into an election campaign whether that's the type of choice that might be looked at if the books are in good shape," Dann said.

It is something Mr Key will probably talk about when he gets to Australian on Wednesday to see new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Dann said.

"I think the economy will be high on the agenda with them."

Mr Key will be the first leader of a developed country to meet Mr Abbott as Prime Minister.