New Zealand Plunges Into Recession As Economy Shrinks Record 12%
Umer Jamshaid 2 days ago Thu 17th September 2020 | 09:20 AM
Wellington, Sept 17 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Sep, 2020 ) :New Zealand plunged into recession for the first time in a decade Thursday, as data confirmed a record-breaking economic collapse that forced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to defend her pandemic response ahead of next month's general election.
The 12.2 percent contraction in April-June was "by far the largest" since records began, national data agency Stats NZ said, with the country put into a strict lockdown for almost two months and the country's borders closed.
Ardern rejected opposition accusations that the tough measures had pushed the economy "off a cliff", saying the restrictions helped contain the virus, which allowed business to resume far earlier than in many other countries.
"Success for me is saving people's lives, supporting and saving people's businesses, coming out the other side (of the crisis) faster, quicker and with more activity," she told reporters.
Ardern retains a strong lead in opinion polls and is expected to retain office, despite the ugly pre-election economic figures.
"There is no way that any political party could claim that there would not have been a recession in New Zealand during this period," he said.
"This is a one-in-100-year global economic shock." - 'This was traumatic' - The opposition National Party said the figures showed a change of government was needed because Ardern's administration could not properly manage the economy or the pandemic response.
"It is now official that we are in the deepest recession in living memory and it's proof that New Zealand needs a National-led government now that has a very clear plan," National leader Judith Collins said.
She said New Zealand "compares very unfavourably" with neighbouring Australia, which recorded an economic contraction of seven percent in the June quarter after adopting a more flexible approach to lockdowns and border controls.
New Zealand's most recent recession was in 2008-09 and until the first three months of this year it had recorded non-stop quarterly growth since 2010.
Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said the figures were unprecedented.
"We've never seen anything like this. It was traumatic," he said.
"Service exports were stonewalled, and down 40 percent in the quarter, consumption was down 12 percent, and investment was slashed by 20 percent."But he said the figure was a one-off that was set to be followed by a growth surge of 10 percent in the September quarter, which would also be a record.
"Businesses and households have clearly adapted to trading in a world with limited face-to-face contract," he said.