Largest ever unadjusted current account surplus

June 18th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted current account balance was a deficit of $0.6 billion in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is $0.3 billion smaller than the December 2013 quarter deficit.

An increase in the value of goods exports, combined with higher spending by overseas visitors to New Zealand contributed to the fall in the this quarter.

“The smaller deficit follows last quarter’s $1.6 billion fall, making this the smallest current account deficit since 2010,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said.

Before removing seasonal effects, the current account balance was a surplus of $1.4 billion – the largest actual current account surplus ever recorded.

I’m pretty sure Labour have been going on about the current account crisis for a while, so we should thank them for curing this also.

New Zealand’s annual current account was a deficit of $6.3 billion (2.8 percent of GDP) for the year ended March 2014. This compares with a deficit of $7.6 billion (3.4 percent of GDP) for the year ended December 2013, and is also $2.0 billion smaller than the deficit for the year ended March 2013, when it was 3.9 percent of GDP.

So it is now 2.8% of GDP. What has it been?

This doesn’t include the latest quarter but one can see that the deficit is now less than a third of what it was under Labour, as a proportion of GDP.

17 Responses to “Largest ever unadjusted current account surplus”

  1. mike tan (917 comments) says:

    Time for election freebies. I am already getting messages about allowances.

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  2. martinh (1,460 comments) says:

    i just dont get why national is still only on 50%
    Apart from housing labour is atrocious

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  3. wreck1080 (5,009 comments) says:

    In a rare defence of labour and I could be wrong– i don’t recall them saying there was a current account crisis.

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  4. Unity (1,463 comments) says:

    Martin, could it be that we don’t like what National is doing under all the layers? By that I mean this country is rapidly becoming an apartheid State and the politicians don’t listen to overwhelming referenda. It’s fine to have the economy buzzing along in the right direction but quite another story when they don’t treat us all the same under the law and make those without any trace of Maori blood second class citizens in their own country. Apartheid is privilege based on race and we are certainly seeing more and more of this by the day. So, I’m wondering if this is why National aren’t soaring in the polls. I would place money on it that this is at least some of the problem. Billions are being spent on racial initiatives when it could be used to benefit everyone regardless of race.

    I’ve always been a National supporter up until 2011 when I saw the direction National was taking after the 2008 election. I will be giving my Party vote in this election to the Party which stands for treating everyone the same under the law and will introduce binding referenda, such is the importance I’m placing on these two issues. If we can’t halt the current trend, then this country is stuffed, to put it succinctly!!

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  5. Adolf Fiinkensein (3,638 comments) says:

    This is a crisis of profound national significance which to be resolves. requires nothing less than the combined economic and fiscal genius of Harawira and Turei.

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  6. ShawnLH (14,338 comments) says:

    Good result. National has a lot of positive achievements it can trumpet during the election.

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  7. thedavincimode (8,131 comments) says:

    Rogue quarter. Must be – there’s a crisis after all.

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  8. martinh (1,460 comments) says:

    Yes i take your point, i also arent enamoured with them but i know they are much better than what the opposition are.

    Policies on trucks in the fast lane and getting rid of transmission gully and puhoi to wellsford and not releasing land for development in auckland is really not conducive to working for the well being of this country.

    How many marine farms wont go ahead with the Greens in cohorts in power, Labour wants to put up minimum wage quickly, whats that going to do to employment. They want to take away the 90 day period for new employees, i know my boss wouldnt of taken on some maintenance staff here without it.

    Thats just some of my concerns about Labour. I do agree National has some bad policies, i dont know why they dont want to ban foreign speculators as the public at least want to know the stats. But to me i think Nationals the best of a bad bunch by far.

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  9. Unity (1,463 comments) says:

    I agree with your last sentence, Martin. However, I’m going to take the risk and hope a Party with the two policies that I deem imperative is needed by National for coalition. If I and others mess up and Labour/Greens get in then of course it will be a disaster but hopefully it will make National really sit up and start listening and make an effort for the following election. I know the Labour/Green Parties will mess up but National is also destroying our way of life with their racist policies. Maybe if the worst case scenario happened and they did get in, the people would kick up such a fuss that another election would have to be held early!!?? I really don’t know of another way to get National to listen.

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  10. martinh (1,460 comments) says:

    Well they should be listening since they are still quite close to losing

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  11. hj (8,596 comments) says:

    This represents a $1.3 billion increase from the March 2013
    quarter surplus, mainly driven by increased dairy product exports.
    Well done National.
    On the other hand:

    Immigration and tax breaks for investment in residential property are being cited as the underlying causes of steep increases in the cost of housing over the past decade.

    New Zealand now boasts one of the highest rates of home unaffordability in the world as a result of prices rising far faster than incomes, and the government’s Savings Working Group blames that squarely on the policies of successive governments.

    Although “the favourable tax treatment of property investment” accounted for about 50% of house price increases between 2001 and 2007, the working group said, there was also strong evidence that rapid swings in immigration brought about price-rise “shocks”.

    There was a sharp spike in immigration in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and, said working group committee member Dr Andrew Coleman, it appeared that property prices did not fall anywhere near as greatly when immigration fell again.

    The report added that there was little evidence that immigration boosted local incomes. In fact, the need to build roads and schools meant that net migration contributed to the national deficit.

    “Migration is another issue that the government should investigate further,” the working group said. “There are indications that high immigration rates have pushed up government spending, house prices and business borrowing, and prevented necessary adjustments to the economy.”

    Coleman said the working group was not anti-immigration, but called on the government to investigate limits in the future, something Immigration Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman does not seem inclined to consider.

    How come independant experts who care about NZ (not corporate lackeys) think the governments performance is dismal?

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  12. greenjacket (1,123 comments) says:

    In 2012 Cunliffe and David Parker were saying that “the export sector is struggling” and “in decline”. In 2013 David Parker said that exports were “in the danger zone”, and Phil Goff said that action had to be taken to grow the export sector. In 2014 Parker was complaining that NZ was in danger because of the overreliance on dairy exports.

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  13. polemic (474 comments) says:

    Should we be inquiring what the former Labour Party leader David Cunnliffe said about the current account surplus previously because he will not recall and his office will not know about it…

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  14. wat dabney (4,135 comments) says:


    The balance of payments and government deficit/surplus are two entirely different things.

    Come back to us when you get a clue, eh?

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  15. campit (480 comments) says:

    Can someone remind me how the Current Account imports and exports are measured, and what it means? From the press release:

    A current account surplus means New Zealand’s earnings from the rest of the world exceeded our overseas expenditure.

    If “earnings” means the earnings of NZ companies, how can Stats possibly calculate this without calculating the NZ corporate ownership component for each good or service imported or exported? Or is it simply calculated from the movement of goods and services over NZ geographic boundaries?

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  16. wikiriwhis business (5,169 comments) says:

    Once the TPP is signed NZ will be no more

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  17. Aussie Aussie Aussie (22 comments) says:

    And still one of the Highest Child Murder Rates

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