10 Jun 2019

New Zealand's rock star economy is still on the dance floor - Gyles Beckford

From First Up, 5:35 am on 10 June 2019

Ever wondered what New Zealand's rock star economy is all about? Business editor Gyles Beckford explains:

"Five years ago, the chief economist of HSBC in Sydney, Paul Bloxham, called New Zealand 'the rock star economy'. 

Economists always look for some fancy tag to describe a set of numbers or a trend and journalists are always thirsty for a good headline grab.

Gyles Beckford - RNZ Business Editor

Gyles Beckford - RNZ Business Editor Photo: RNZ

"But back in 2014, the economy was growing at more than 4 percent a year, and for the next couple of years it was somewhere around 3-and-a- half percent.

At the time, the rebuild of Christchurch after the 2011 earthquakes was in full swing, house prices were going through the roof, dairy prices were falling but still solid, the country was importing cars in record numbers and oil prices were falling like a stone which lowered costs for everyone.

And when you looked around the world you could see New Zealand was rocking.

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Photo: Netflix

The United States was stumbling along at around 2 percent, Europe wasn't much better, Japan was barely growing and even Australia looked a bit anaemic.

We were Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC rolled into one. The rest of the world looked like a tired Barry Manilow.

Since then, a few of the big economies such as the US and Australia have picked up pace. Although overall growth in the world economy is slowing, we have new figures for the start of the year coming out in 10 days time and it's expected New Zealand's annual growth rate will be a more sedate 2 and a half percent, but that still looks better than most.

Paul Bloxham, who invented the rockstar tag, is sticking with it. Recently he said things are slowing but compared to the rest of the world, New Zealand's still doing ok. 

We may not be rocking as hard as we were a few years ago, but we are still on the dance floor."

Celebrations at the reopening of the Christchurch Town Hall

Celebrations at the reopening of the Christchurch Town Hall Photo: Bevan Triebels, Triebels Photography