Reserve Bank independence a distraction from housing’s real issues

The Reserve Bank’s independence is an important feature of New Zealand’s economic framework. The government has some scope to include housing in the Bank’s policy objectives, and it must also ensure that the Bank takes an appropriately broad view of the economic effects of its policy decisions. But housing’s underlying problems will only be solved by more fundamental reforms of our tax system and settings around the supply of land.

Wide regional variations in residential building

Residential construction activity has held up much better than expected since the economy went into lockdown in late March. Some areas have seen a strong burst of activity, but others have seen a softening in anticipated building levels. This article explores some of the emerging regional trends in consent numbers, with detailed regional forecasts of activity available as part of our Regional Construction Outlook.

Chart of the month: summer’s big hole in tourism revenue

Since the borders were closed in March, we have consistently argued that an increase in spending by New Zealanders on domestic holidays could never make up for the loss in revenue from foreign visitors. Data for 2019 shows that international tourism was worth $16.0b to the New Zealand economy, while Kiwis spent $6.2b on overseas holidays.

Media Release: Double-dip recession next year, but housing rolls on

Despite rebounding well from the initial lockdown and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, the New Zealand economy remains vulnerable, according to the latest projections from Infometrics. The company is forecasting a double-dip recession to hit during 2021, as delayed job losses punch a hole in consumer spending and drag economic activity lower.

Media release: Economic fall-out of COVID-19 to be fully felt in 2021

New Zealand’s successful public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic should not be taken to mean our economic struggles are over, according to Infometrics’ latest forecasts. Given that life has largely returned to “normal” at Alert Level 1, economic outcomes in the near-term will be better than initially feared. However, the full effects of the border closures, business failures, and job losses will only become apparent over the next 18 months.

Supporting construction while rectifying state housing

A commitment from the government to build an additional 9,400 state houses over the next two years would mitigate the construction sector’s downturn, helping to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of capacity that occurred following the Global Financial Crisis. It is also an opportunity for the government to make a real difference in housing outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable people, contributing to better wellbeing in a way that KiwiBuild was never going to do.

Media Release: Recovery likely to be slow, even with bold government initiatives

The New Zealand economy faces up to two years of consolidation following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Infometrics’ latest forecasts released last week. Even with massive government intervention to cushion the downturn and stimulate a recovery, there is no way the economy can quickly and completely bounce back from the restrictions currently in place. Instead, the structural changes the New Zealand economy is undergoing will establish a new “normal” operating environment for businesses.