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While Australia bemoans a massive Budget deficit and deep cuts to many areas of science, welfare and education, our cousins across the Tasman are finding things are much rosier.

Courtesy of information from Statistics New Zealand and Deloitte Access Economics, here’s a summary of the current New Zealand economy:

  • Economic growth prospects are suddenly looking stronger in NZ than they are in Australia.    The NZ Treasury estimates real GDP growth of 4.0% in 2014-15, while Australia is projected to grow at a more modest 2.5% in 2014-15 according to the recent Budget. In the March 2014 quarter the number of people employed in New Zealand increased by 22,000 (0.9 percent) in seasonally adjusted terms. Over the year to March 2014, the number of people employed rose 84,000 (3.7 percent) to 2,318,000 people. This is the largest annual  increase in nearly ten years (December 2004 quarter) when the increase was 90,000.
  • The main contributors to the annual growth in NZ employment were the construction industry (up 24,400 people, or 14 %) and the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support service  industry group (up 17,700 people, or 7%).
  • The NZ labour force participation rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 69.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter. NZ’s labour force participation rate is now at the highest level since the series began in 1986  , just surpassing the 69.2 percent seen in the December 2008 quarter.  Over the year, the labour force participation rate rose 1.4 percentage points. This is also the largest annual increase for the series. Australia’s labour force participation rate is a much more modest 64.7%. NZ’s recent economic outperformance is due to a combination of factors, not least its  growing trade relationship with China  (an annual gain of 51% compared to the previous year, and accounted for around 22% of all exports).
  • NZ export growth has been led by a boom in demand for dairy products from Asia.  Over the year to March-2014, milk powder, butter and cheese exports advanced 31% to $NZ14.9 billion, with total dairy exports accounting for over 30% of total exports. Other components of the NZ economy are also supporting the relatively rapid rate of economic growth underway.  Housing construction activity has followed higher house prices recorded in recent years and is growing strongly, while private consumption and business/public investment are also slated to support positive economic growth over the medium term

Might the traditional flow of New Zealand workers into Australia be about to decline?

I doubt the decisions made in the recent Australian Federal Budget would be ones that provide a greater incentive for Kiwi workers to pack up their life and head across the ditch.

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