20 Sep 2012

Farming, building sectors boost GDP

4:55 pm on 20 September 2012

Finance Minister Bill English says the strongest annual growth figures since 2007 prove that New Zealand is making good progress.

Official figures show gross domestic product (GDP) - a broad measure of the health of the economy - rose 0.6% for the three months to June, following a revised 1% in the previous quarter.

Overall, the pace of economic activity rose by 2.6% for the year to June, compared with the same period last year - the highest rate since 2007.

The economy benefited from good growing conditions that saw a strong end to the milk production season.

Construction also rose, led by the building of roads and bridges as well as housing in earthquake-hit Canterbury, while manufacturing increased, led by transport equipment.

Mr English says the growth is solid and broad-based.

The minister says New Zealand's economy continues to perform better than most other developed countries, and it is important that the Government continues to increase the country's long-term competitiveness.

The figures exceeded economists' expectations, but are not expected to move the Reserve Bank, which signalled that interest rates are on hold until the second half of 2013.

The stronger than expected result prompted the New Zealand dollar to jump half a cent to nearly US83c early on Thursday afternoon.