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Alarm bells in economic data

Labour
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"The continued weakness in New Zealand's external accounts underlines the need for a coherent and determined export strategy, Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today.

"The latest overseas merchandise trade figures show imports were 9.7 percent higher than the June quarter, 1998 while exports grew only 0.8 percent over the same period.

"This imbalance is putting more pressure on New Zealand's already high current account deficit, virtually guaranteeing a credit downgrade after the elections.

"There is also accumulating evidence that the domestic recovery is starting to lose steam. Business and consumer confidence are down and the July job ads series, out this morning, shows growth in job ads is slowing.

"To put the New Zealand economy on a firmer foundation we need to strengthen, diversify and add value to our export blend and to hasten the transition from a commodity-based to a knowledge-based economy," Dr Cullen said.

"Labour's industry policy is designed to do just that."

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