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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 2—Finance

2. SHANAN HALBERT (Labour—Northcote) to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he seen on the New Zealand economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): We know 2023 is a challenging year for New Zealand, the global economy, and New Zealanders. However, there are reasons for optimism. New Zealand continues to produce the goods and services that the world wants. This is shown in the new Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries, which is forecasting that primary industry exports will reach a new record high of $56.2 billion by the end of June—above earlier estimates. The growth is led by dairy, seafood, and processed food exports. Looking ahead, the report is projecting primary industry exports to grow to $62 billion by 2027.

Shanan Halbert: What other reports has he seen on the economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Well, Statistics New Zealand has reported that employment rose for the fourth month in a row, with filled jobs rising by 13,193 or 0.6 percent in April, taking the total number of jobs to 2.37 million. The services industry has continued to drive the gains with the rest mainly coming from the goods-producing industries. On an annual basis, the biggest gains were in accommodation and food services, followed by healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, transport, postal and warehousing, and administration and support services. By age group, the largest gains, in terms of the number of filled jobs, were for 35- to 39-year-olds followed by those aged between 30 to 34 and then 15- to 19-year-olds.

Shanan Halbert: What reports has he seen on net migration and its impact on the economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Last week, Statistics New Zealand reported that there was a net gain of 5,800 people arriving in the month of April and 72,300 people for the year. I believe our immigration reset is working and attracting the overseas workers with the skills that businesses need to help rebuild the economy. Yesterday’s announcement around changes to the skilled migrant category will simplify the pathway to residency and further support businesses to recruit internationally and fill vacancies.

Shanan Halbert: What reports has he seen on the international context for the New Zealand economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The World Bank is forecasting the global economy to slow from 3.1 percent in 2022 to 2.1 percent in 2023 and then bounce back slightly to 2.4 percent for 2024. This emphasises that it is a difficult time for the global economy and that this will flow through to New Zealand. But we are well positioned to face the challenges ahead with unemployment near record lows, growing exports, and public debt levels well below those of countries that we compare ourselves with. Inflation is high, but it is heading in the right direction. We know New Zealanders are doing it tough and the Government is striking a balance to support them in the here and now while continuing to invest in public services and a resilient infrastructure network.