[16 March/Otago Daily Times]

Weather related events over the last three months have affected economic growth. Gross Domestic Product increased by 0.6 percent in the three months ended December which was weaker than most forecasts suggested. Growth was also impacted by the fall in NZD/USD exchange rate. According to Statistics New Zealand, higher activity in the service industries was offset by a fall in the primary industries. They said that New Zealand’s hottest summer on record appeared to have affected the primary sector with agricultural production falling 2.7 percent. ASB Senior Economist, Jane Turner, added that the agricultural sector was weaker than she anticipated. Westpac Senior Economist, Michael Gordon, noted that the New Zealand economy appeared to have lost momentum and that growth was expected to remain at a slow pace this year as the new Government’s policies were expected to affect activity.