New Zealand is in recession for the first time in 11 years.
Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said today.
“The 12.2 percent fall in quarterly GDP is by far the largest on record in New Zealand,” national accounts senior manager Paul Pascoe said.
There’s no surprise about being in recession when the country was locked
up down for weeks., but how did we compare with other countries:
Measures to contain COVID-19 have led to historically large falls in GDP in many parts of the world, with countries’ results reflecting the nature and timing of their responses, and the structure of their economies. For example, New Zealand’s result compares to falls of 7.0 percent in Australia, 11.5 percent in Canada, 7.9 percent in Japan, 20.4 percent in the United Kingdom, and 9.1 percent in the United States. . .
New Zealand did worse than all of those countries except the UK, including our nearest neighbour which had a less harsh lockdown and, the debacle in Victoria excepted, similar health outcomes; and our performance was worse than the OECD average.
Contrary to the government’s line of going early and hard, it was lax, late and harsh.
We should have locked down sooner, been much rigorous about returnees from overseas self-isolating and introduced MIQ sooner then used safe rather than the arbitrary essential when determining which businesses could operate during lockdown.
That could have been excused the first time had the government learned from its mistakes, but it repeated them and made more when it locked Auckland down again.
Businesses and greengrocers weren’t allowed to open and there was an omnishambles at the region’s borders with staff not able to get to work. That was compounded by animal welfare issues when farmers couldn’t get into Auckland to look after their stock and millions of bees died when beekeepers couldn’t get to their hives.
The economy isn’t just about money, it’s about businesses, jobs, livelihoods and lives and both physical and mental health.
The government admits that health and the economy are linked but, as in so many other instances in the past three years, its actions haven’t followed its words.
Worse given there is a very real risk that there will be other leaks at the border it hasn’t learned from its mistakes and, should it be re-elected, there is a very real risk it will repeat them.