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Time to change GDP as a measure of progress

16 March 2017

Time to change GDP as a measure of progress

Today’s disappointing GDP numbers fail to capture what’s really going on in the New Zealand economy and with our day-to-day lives, the Green Party said today.

Gross domestic product (GDP) statistics released today by Statistics New Zealand show that the official part of the New Zealand economy grew by 0.4 percent in the December 2016 quarter. Per capita GDP — a better reflection of people’s wellbeing — actually went backwards by 0.2 percent due to population increases.

“GDP may be up slightly, but once adjusted for population growth, the New Zealand economy actually went backwards in the last quarter of 2016,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“While there will be a flurry of comment today analysing the headline numbers, there is a deeper problem with GDP — it’s no longer a good metric for measuring our prosperity.

“Since the 1980s, New Zealand’s GDP has more than doubled, yet so too have our child poverty rates. Similarly, rates of inequality in New Zealand have grown at the fastest levels seen in the developed world despite GDP doubling.

“GDP isn’t capturing increasing numbers of people sleeping in cars or increasing carbon pollution pouring into our atmosphere.

“We need new ways to measure New Zealand’s economic success to complement the increasingly outdated GDP metric.

“I have a Bill that’s going to be debated next week in Parliament that would implement a dashboard of measures to complement GDP and capture more accurately the changes to our human and environmental welfare,” said Mr Shaw.

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