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NZ economy backed by international report

NZ economy backed by international report

New Zealand’s continued economic expansion and the Government’s policies to improve productivity have been backed by an international report on the economy released today.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its latest annual review of New Zealand, saying economic growth is “solid”, and forecast to remain close to trend.

The ‘Article IV’ report noted New Zealand’s employment growth has strengthened, unemployment is below four percent and wage growth has recently picked up.

“The IMF report today outlines what we all know: that New Zealand has strong underlying economic fundamentals,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

“Unemployment is at an eleven-year low, the economy is growing faster than the likes of Australia, the UK and the EU, and the Government is running a surplus and keeping debt under control in case of a rainy day.”

“It’s refreshing to see the international view of New Zealand’s economy is positive. Despite some who will always take the glass half empty approach, we’re doing relatively well against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty.”

The IMF notes New Zealand’s longstanding productivity challenge. It says the thrust of the Government’s structural reform programme underway is adequate, including work on the R&D tax incentive regime and the new Infrastructure Commission.

The IMF also says that:

• New Zealand’s ‘financial soundness indicators’ have improved and that households’ financial vulnerabilities have fallen as house price growth stabilised.

• The Government’s new target range for net debt of 15%-25% of GDP is prudent, and further strengthens the Government’s sound fiscal framework.

• The Wellbeing Budget struck the right balance between fiscal prudence and the Government’s priorities of mental health, child poverty, Maori and Pasifika aspirations, productivity and digital transformation.

• The Government’s continued focus on advancing its comprehensive housing policy agenda is welcome.
Note to Editors – embargo is due to IMF release time. The report will be published here after 10am Saturday.

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