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Recovery moves to provincial New Zealand - Cullen

"This morning's National Bank regional trends survey shows that the economy is growing strongly across most of New Zealand," Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"Of the 14 regions, the only three which did not experience accelerating growth were Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The results confirm that the recovery is now being led by the regions rather than by metropolitan New Zealand.

"Basically the domestic economy is coming off the stimulus created in the last quarter of last year by the millennium partying, the preparations for 2YK, the America's Cup defence, even the election campaign - all coinciding.

"As domestic demand returns to a more normal growth path, the export sector is beginning to surge ahead on the back of strong world demand, rising commodity prices, a good agricultural season and a competitive dollar.

"This rebalancing of activity will put the recovery on to a more sustainable footing and take pressure off the current account deficit. The New Zealand economy is simply too small to sustain a recovery fuelled by domestic consumption and tax cuts.

"Our prosperity depends in the end on exports. If exporters are doing well, the benefits flow through to the rest of the country," Dr Cullen said.

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