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The construction and services industries drove New Zealand’s economic growth in the December quarter as some other sectors eased back, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

Statistics New Zealand reported Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.4 per cent in the December 2016 quarter. This took annual growth to 3.1 per cent (2.7 per cent higher than the December 2015 quarter).

“Our economy is successfully navigating a still challenging international environment, and growing the prosperity of New Zealanders,” Mr Joyce says.

“While growth has softened in this latest quarter, the continuing trend is consistent ongoing growth ahead of most other developed countries.

GDP per capita has grown 0.9 per cent over the last year, and real gross national disposable income has grown 4.1 per cent over the year.

“We have seen particularly impressive growth in construction and services partly offset by a fall in primary production and the related manufacturing sector,” Mr Joyce says.

Construction activity grew 1.8 per cent in the quarter and 10.5 per cent in the calendar year – the highest rate of growth since 2004.

Other industries with strong quarterly growth include:

•         health care and social assistance (up 1.3 per cent)

•         professional, scientific and technical services (up 1.6 per cent)

•         accommodation and food services (up 1.0 per cent)

•         Arts and recreation services (up 5.5 per cent)

The Current Account deficit released yesterday is down to 2.7 per cent in the 2016 year. Our net international liability is down just below 60 per cent. This is the lowest on record.

“This week’s statistics on economic growth and our external accounts show the benefit of the Government’s sensible, consistent economic management,” Mr Joyce says.

“We will continue to provide the economic conditions that encourage businesses to invest and grow jobs to the benefit of Kiwi’s and their families.”

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