NZ holds it own

THE Federal Government might gloat but, across the Tasman, New Zealand is also holding up against the global slide.

Like Australia, New Zealand’s economy is no longer on the skids. It is standing as one of the strongest performing, albeit smaller, economies in the world.

During the June quarter, gross domestic product grew by 1.7 per cent, on top of 1 per cent growth in the March quarter, to take annual average growth to 3.5 per cent for the 2001-02 year.

The relative strength of the Australian economy, which is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, together with favourable climatic conditions, as opposed to the drought in Australia, is fuelling the economy.

The economy’s strength is also stemming the population outflow. In the past 12 months net migration, accounting for population inflows and outflows, was not only positive but also increased at a record 36,200 extra people.

“Given New Zealand’s population is just 3.9 million, this represents a considerable boost,” ANZ New Zealand chief economist David Drage said.

But it is not only favourable economic conditions that are keeping New Zealanders home.

A clampdown in Australia in April 2001 on social welfare paid to New Zealand expatriates has also done its work on the New Zealand economy.

“The tangible benefits of migration for the local economy have been demonstrated by a corresponding increase in money entering or transferring into the economy,” Mr Drage said.

“Net transfers are now starting to rival those seen during the last migration boom in the mid 1990s, with a net $420 million brought in during the June quarter and more than $1.5 billion during the financial year.”

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