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In the year to September 2021, a massive 47,330 residential building consents were issued. We look at how well actual building activity is keeping up with this demand

Budget 2022 will see significant investment to address long term challenges, with $6 billion of new spending to support reform programmes.

Budget 2022 will see the establishment of a $4.5 billion Climate Emergency Response Fund, to help us meet our emissions reductions targets.

The news headlines on the latest Monetary Policy Statement were about the OCR, but the real story was what it said about inflation.

We take a look at the current data on producer input price indices. These show a marked increase in the year to September 2021.

StatsNZ has released as an experimental series, an annual population count developed entirely from administrative data sources. Let’s see what can be done with it.

New Zealand is a nation dependent on international migration for significant population growth. But, with borders closed, what happened to population growth in 2021?

Supply chain pressures, higher house prices and relatively full employment have driven annual inflation to 4.9 percent its highest level since 2008.

The latest government accounts are a reflection of our quick recovery from the first lockdown. But the current domestic and global situation casts a shadow.

A prominent UK economist has recently argued that the UK should cut the number of graduates in half. This article examines whether the same argument applies to NZ.

After holding fire in the August 2021 Monetary Policy Statement, the Reserve Bank has increased the OCR for the first time in seven years as inflationary pressures mount.

GDP growth rates have been erratic because of the stop-go effects of lockdowns, but the economy is in reasonable shape to cope with the latest episode.

Unsurprisingly, retail spending fell off a cliff during the latest level four lockdown. Early signs point to a swift recovery, but, inflation may dampen spirits.

The construction industry has been performing strongly in 2021. But the latest COVID-19 outbreak could have a dampening impact on the industry, especially in Auckland.

Kiwi consumers’ insatiable demand for vehicles drives strong growth in imports.

Many believe faster inflation is inevitable in New Zealand. But, could it be that it’s already well underway for parts of our economy, particularly our businesses?

The official cash rate has been kept at 0.25 percent due to uncertainty of the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.

The COVID-19 pandemic and world-wide border and travel restrictions have reversed New Zealand’s migration trends.

Unemployment rate drops to four percent. What does this imply for inflation and interest rates?

With food price inflation showing no signs of slowing down, a balanced diet may soon be out of reach for many Kiwis.

Annual inflation increased to 3.3 percent in June 2021, the biggest increase in nearly 10 years. New Zealand’s period of low interest rates looks to be coming to an end.

Low-income New Zealanders are stuck at the mercy of inflation, and increasing rental prices. Is there any chance of them owning their own home amidst this housing crisis?

Young New Zealander’s are only accustomed to low levels of inflation. So how will they fare with the expected increases to inflation coming?

The increase in GDP in the first quarter of 2021 was greater than most observers expected, and a few of them had predicted a decrease.

The Climate Change Commission provided its final climate change mitigation advice to the Government detailing the pathway towards a low emissions future for Aotearoa.

COVID-19 has reversed some longstanding migration trends.

The Budget did not secure a Just Transition for New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions economy; however it does lay some foundations.

After a surprisingly good recovery from COVID-19, we see the 2021 Budget tackling the issues faced by Māori and Pacific Peoples.

Budget 2021 addresses the challenges facing vulnerable communities. However, it fails to take the opportunity to use the strong recovery to be transformational.

Finance Minister says Budget 2021 will take a balanced approach that continues to emphasise investment where it is needed most, alongside careful fiscal management.

The unemployment rate has been slowly decreasing recently. But, could it be that this decrease is just a front, covering for more negative changes in our labour market?

Government spending on superannuation and benefits is growing rapidly, but it is not something that can easily be controlled, except through unpalatable policy measures.

The RBNZ has a new remit to consider house prices, have they got enough tools to meet three antagonistic targets?

New Zealand’s underinvestment in transport infrastructure has been well documented. How does the Government’s spending in this area compare to population and GDP growth?

What does our rapidly ageing population mean for the future of healthcare spending?

Education’s share of GDP has fallen over the past 10 years, and there are worrying signs that attainment has also fallen.

Is New Zealand’s public expenditure keeping up with needs and funding capacity?

GDP in the December 2020 quarter declined by one percent compared to September 2020.

Kiwifruit exports have dramatically increased since 2010, leading now as the highest horticulture export.

New Zealand honey exports have surged in terms of value and volume over the last two years. This has been driven by Manuka honey exports to China and the US.

We look at the market for New Zealand apples. Export receipts are growing fast but there are clear labour constraints.

We all know that NZ performs well in primary sector exports. But it’s not just about meat and dairy. Horticulture exports have grown rapidly during the past five years.

Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, all child poverty measures were trending down. But over 18 percent of children still live in poverty.

The Government’s rent controls appear to have worked in the middle of 2020, but rent levels bounced back as soon as the controls were lifted.

Almost four million international visitors came to New Zealand in both 2018 and 2019, but COVID-19 has caused the number to collapse to less than one million.

Inflation affects different household types differently. Official statistics show those who spend the most are the least negatively affected.

The 4.9 percent unemployment rate recorded in the December 2020 quarter unemployment rate was lower than expected and employment optimism is improving.

Higher demand for New Zealand Kiwifruit, honey and wine, help them buck the trend as annual merchandise export values decline through the last three quarters of 2020.

BERL will be publishing a series of articles on this website during February, dealing with how COVID-19 impacted many aspects of life in New Zealand.

GDP bounced back from its largest quarterly decline in June to record its largest increase in September. However, the effects of COVID could last longer than the virus.

Ganesh Nana appointed Chair of Productivity Commission

How has the Treasury’ forecast of unemployment changed between September and December of 2020? And how does this compare with BERL and RBNZ?

A given sum in a Kiwisaver growth fund can grow to more than the same sum in a conservative fund. But the right provider can be as important as the right type of fund.

Latest Treasury forecasts show improving Government accounts expected. Stronger economic recovery pushes up expected tax take and jobless projections pushed down.

The Government’s better-than-expected financial situation provides the opportunity to address our pressing challenges in a more concerted – go hard, go fast – manner.

Foreign backpackers and campervanners are often looked down upon. They should be welcomed as future high value visitors and migrants.

Not all New Zealanders earn enough income to cover their everyday costs. Which groups do not have enough income? And what can be done to provide them with enough income?

New Zealand currently has free trade agreements in place with all the countries that are part of the RCEP.

Labour set to get at least one more seat after specials are counted, resulting in final standings in next Parliament: Labour 65, National 34, Greens 10, ACT 10, Māori 1.

Net migration hit a post COVID-19 border closure high of 1,130 in the month of August 2020.

By the end of 2020, the RBNZ intends to create an expanded Funding for Lending Programme to provide low-cost funding for banks to lend to households and businesses.

Unofficial datasets show that job numbers in New Zealand have been steady, despite COVID-19. However, there are some clouds on the horizon.

New Zealand has recorded its largest ever quarterly decline in GDP of 12.2 percent pushing us into a recession.

As the fallout from COVID-19 increases, stock markets have had their best six months ever. Why has this happened?

Unemployment low, stock market at all-time high, what happened to the recession?

The availability of alcohol decreased in the second quarter of 2020, reflecting the impact of the lockdown on the hospitality sector.

The RBNZ is preparing for a long haul. It would do well for all businesses, organisations, family, whānau, iwi, and communities to similarly prepare for such a long haul.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in the June quarter, but this figure can be dismissed as disguising the true state of the labour market and the wider economy.

Collecting fees for isolation may cost New Zealanders more than it is worth.

Since the onset of COVID-19, there have been many people re-imagining Aotearoa and questioning our vision for Aotearoa.

With more renters than ever, Tenancy Services received fewer new tenancy bonds in the last year than 1998.

Statistics New Zealand have begun work on the 2023 Census. Can they deliver a high quality Census result with a high participation rate?

Investing in the suggested projects, in a way that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi, would support or create jobs, communities, businesses, and markets....

Will it be a valuable addition to New Zealand's economic activity monitoring, or will it drown in a sea of indicators?

A surge in domestic tourism has seen an increase in booking short-term rentals for July.

New Zealand’s economy takes one of its largest ever quarterly tumbles, despite COVID-19 lockdown starting at the end of March.

Investing in regenerative and distributed farming in a way that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi would support a wellbeing-based economy.

Investing in renewable and decentralised energy in a way that honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi would create meaningful markets and employment.

A presentation from our Data Manager Hugh Dixon on how and why local and regional councils could make use of Census data to monitor and plan for the future

The next COVID step is to carefully open some borders. Maybe with the 'Early Movers', but Southeast Asia and China could have lower risks and higher rewards.

Should we save for now, or do our part in stimulating the economy?

Kiwis are coming home in considerable numbers. Many will bring with them valuable skills and experience, which will be important in rebuilding the economy.

One blue fiscal response, one red. Both extraordinary. Both conventional. The latter was an opportunity missed; the former is an opportunity hanging by a thread.

A $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package aims to keep people in employment and provide opportunities for those who lost jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Big headline increases in housing and health fund improved access for increased demand, but no transformational funding for the social sector and education.

Since it entered power the Government has shown commitment to maintaining and improving our environment.

A $50 billion response and recovery fund is clearly much more than a textbook response. But job losses and community pain will need more support in coming months.

Fit for a rainy day? We discuss our initial reactions to today’s budget. (Video)

Now that the rainy day has inarguably arrived, we discuss if this Government will shed its priority fiscal prudence cloak?

Economic projections for the year are looking grim, while stock markets are looking optimistic.

At Level 4 and Level 3 “We got this!” How has our Team of 5 million done?

Now that the rainy day has inarguably arrived, can this Governement shed its priority fiscal prudence cloak?

The doughnut model encapsulates that economics should be about “meeting the human rights of every person within the means of our life-giving planet.”

NGOs are under increasing pressure, with a rise in demand for their services and insufficient funding.

Kiwis should be encouraged to discover their own country. Districts need to appeal to domestic visitors.

In 2006, new residential houses averaged 191 square meters in size. By 2010, the average size of new builds had increased to 200 square metres. Has this continued?

We have an opportunity to invest in smart, digital and green infrastructure that will mitigate climate change and protect the environment.

Local government must reject the austerity route peddled by some and be openly more active in the post-COVID economy to underpin community wellbeing.

The COVID-19 outbreak will re-shape the future behaviour of individuals, families, whānau, organisations, businesses, and governments.

We look at the track of new and recovered cases of the virus to see whether the New Zealand community is likely to be able to make that claim by 20 April.

Government budgets are different to households. Those saying they are the same are usually protecting the status quo of existing asset owners.

A quick summary of what might happen as New Zealand looks to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. We look at what this means for GDP and unemployment.

Will the decline in demand for AirBnB and similar visitor accommodation be a gain for affordable housing?

With so much uncertainty surrounding the immediate future in the face of COVID-19 we look at the government response and what this might mean for returning to 'normal'.

In this series of three articles, guest contributor Dr Geoff Bertram debunks many of the myths surrounding government financial arrangements.

Turuki, Turuki, a new report from Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata looks to the future and makes recommendations on how we can transform our criminal justice system.

The number of cases of COVID-19 virus in the world’s wealthier places like Europe and USA seem to be higher than in the poorer ones like Africa, or even Asia.

COVID-19 has led to the shutdown of international travel and with it the tourism industry. This will be a real blow to New Zealand’s export figures.

It’s only three months into 2020, but we already have the word of the year: unprecedented.

Depending on the specific impacts facing your business there are a range of the relief policies that could help you get through the COVID-19 lockdown.

The 2018 census gives insight into the extent of the mould problem in New Zealand housing.

With the possibility of a deep and prolonged recession because of COVID-19, the news about what happened to GDP in the December 2019 quarter might well pass unremarked.

“Be strong. Be kind. We will be OK.” A rallying call from the Prime Minister accompanied the release of today’s economic support package by the Minister of Finance.

What can be done to help our economy and families weather the impact of COVID-19? Here's why an OCR cut would be window dressing at best.
Diversification used to be the key to every investment portfolio. Banks are increasingly putting their eggs in one basket.
It seems very probable that the rate of growth in the New Zealand economy will decrease as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.
In his annual letter, BlackRock Chair and CEO Larry Fink shot climate change to the top of the investment risk calculation.
Labour exploitation is a complex problem requiring a systematic solution.
An alternative view on the future of the New Zealand workforce at this year's New Zealand Festival of the Arts.
Seven indicators improving, six worsening, eleven sideways. Indicates a mixed bag for the latest State of the Nation from The Salvation Army.
Even in the face of climate change, consumerism shows no signs of slowing. In 2019 there was a total of 1.9 billion electronic card transactions, worth $94 billion.
The deprivation index has now been updated using the 2018 Census. What can it tell us about living in New Zealand?

We are looking for a strong senior professional to manage and lead teams and contribute to tackling the challenges our clients face.

Miscounting migrants? On 23 January almost a quarter of New Zealand’s estimated annual net migration vanished.  
The 2018 Census reveals rapid growth in the Māori population - or does it? We investigate a bit deeper into the numbers.

Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) are now a thing. This technology offers a new way to cooperate.

A new experimental tool from Statistics New Zealand might enable anyone to view and analyse nationwide data.
A Treasury report which BERL is proud to have contributed to was featured in a recent episode of the RNZ Podcast “Two cents worth”.

For the 2018 Census the overall response rate was 83.3 percent, compared to 92.2 percent for the 2013 Census, a serious decline in the overall response rate.

What is meant by health? Perhaps what we have now is a disease and illness response system.
The global economic outlook is increasingly bleak, nothing a new TV can’t fix. Is it your civic duty to boost demand?
It might be supposed that part time employment is increasing more rapidly than full time employment, but is it?
The experience of Cashmere High highlights the high stakes and contrasting incentives we found during research into false fire alarms in New Zealand.
Census 2018 shows national home ownership rates unchanged, though 22 percent of dwellings have a dampness issue.
People think of cost and value as interchangeable. Economics considers the opportunity cost, the alternative decision not choosen. Did we forget it has value too? 
After much delay, the first population counts from the 2018 Census were released today.
Having a second job is an increasingly significant feature of the New Zealand labour market.
Data overload can prevent us from realising the real insights. How can we make sure to see the wood from the trees of the new census?
Latest statistics show people with disabilities continue to be more likely to be unemployed and underutilised.
The KiwiBuild reset was announced this week as a solution to the housing crisis, meanwhile, the Reserve Bank is battling to keep house prices up.
IPCC’s Climate Change and Land report found that land is a critical resource, stating that “land provides the principle basis for human livelihoods and well-being.”

Under a true wellbeings approach the criminal justice system will require significant transformation.

Release of the 2018 Census data will enable vast opportunities for new and updated research.
Some good news for workers as the unemployment rate continues to fall and wages appear to be rising faster than the rate of inflation.
Data quality issues threaten the usefulness of the 2018 Census. This will have to be carefully managed with researchers ensuring they fully understand the implications.
The OCR is going down – some strange behaviours may be on the way.
India will soon overtake China to become the most populous country in the world.
Rises in the cost of living do not affect everyone evenly. We use the Household Living Prices Index to investigate.
A discussion document to address agricultural emissions has been released. With 48 percent of New Zealand emissions a result of agriculture this is welcome progress.
The goal of the new policy is to make electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles more affordable for New Zealand families. Is this what will happen?
StatsNZ has released the latest tranche of wellbeing indicators to feed into the Living Standards Framework.
Facebook has been leaking details of its new payments system Libra for a while now. On Tuesday 18 June Facebook finally released the full whitepaper.
The Reserve Bank is reviewing the future of cash, and they want to hear your opinion.
After declining since August 2016, New Zealand net migration is again showing consistent growth with nine months of upward movement.
How did Uber sell the idea that all of the taxi industry’s problems were caused by regulators, and that allowing Uber a laissez-faire industry would magically solve them?
The Māori economy is strengthening, with strong asset growth across Māori Authority Businesses in 2017.
The latest figures show strong growth since 2011 puts us at an all time high of over 34,000 consents in the last 12 months.

Fresh from the media lockup, Chief Economist Ganesh Nana, Senior Economist Nick Robertson and Senior Researcher Amanda Reid discuss their impressions of the budget. (Vide

Is it transformative? Sadly, not really. However, it is an impressive spending budget – with $3.5bn new spend across the range of previously identified priorities.
Unpacking how the Budget defines wellbeing, and what this means for the quality of life for those experiencing deprivation.
Increased Government expenditure and stronger investment in the economy are expected to drive economic growth to reach three percent by 2020 before decreasing in 2023.
According to employment and GDP indicators the US economy is currently growing strongly with low unemployment and strong job growth.
Transformational or conventional? The economic context is sombre with accumulating risks and an OCR cut.
An update on the 2018 Census, and a draft paper from StatsNZ on an urban influence classification.
Ganesh writes about the most important argument in political discourse – the role, function, and objective of government.
A new report from Morningstar sheds light on how people are using Kiwisaver, and where they might be leaving money on the table.
The promises are big, but the fees and interest rates are even bigger leading many to further hardship.
In 1988 there were 23 marriages or civil unions per 1,000 eligible people, while in 2018 the rate was less than half that figure at just under 11.
Figures for March 2019 saw the highest ever monthly export values and our second largest trade surplus.
The Welfare Expert Advisory Group report to Government has been released. Establishing the level of income that is adequate in today’s Aotearoa was a fundamental issue.
The 700,000 people missed by the 2018 census have been filled in by admin data held by StatsNZ. If this was already available, do we really need a census?
Why economic freedom should be included as an indicator for measuring wellbeing in New Zealand.
StatsNZ has revealed to Parliament the scale of undercount of Census 2018. Around 700,000 people did not participate, or only partially answered the Census.
New Zealand screen industry gross revenue waned in 2018, decreasing eight percent to $3.3b on the back of reduced activity.
Often seen as wasteful and inefficient, government officials have pulled off a feat of high speed law writing in the few weeks since our darkest day.
The employment situation in the USA is puzzling commentators. Wages aren’t rising as expected for such a tight labour market.
GDP is still increasing, but at at a slower rate despite a growing population and a hot tourism industry.
Prices of milk and cream would be expected to drive the prices of dairy-based products. Butter is almost entirely made of cream, but the relationship isn't holding true.
Since 2010, the number of visitors arriving in New Zealand has increased by almost 60 percent, but visits are becoming shorter.
E nga iwi, e nga mana, e nga maunga, e nga moana, e nga reo, e rau rangatira ma, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, which had forecast a 0.6 percent increase for the December 2018 quarter. They only got 0.2 percent.
Craft beer, cider and spirits are the fastest growing alcohol markets, with all volumes increasing in 2018.
Changes to the Household Economic Survey, Measuring child poverty: concepts and definitions.
The concepts of tax and active tax policies remain the Achilles Heel of those wanting to progress a truly transformative agenda for New Zealand.
Cumulative net migration between January 2001 and October 2018 was 24,000 higher than estimated, new data shows.
We look at Minister Hipkins ITP sector restructuring proposal and air our doubts on how successful it will be in delivering better outcomes and lowering costs.
Total export receipts are continuing their upward trend, but several potential speed bumps are visible on the horizon.
December 2018 quarter unemployment increased to 4.3 percent, up from 4.0 percent in the September 2018 quarter while annual ordinary time hourly earnings for 2019 increased 3.1 percent.
Designed to create opportunities and promote innovation, will poor productivity scupper the Wellbeing Budget ambitions?
Statistics New Zealand’s recent change in methodology for reporting migration data has brought to the fore the debate about providing timely data or accurate data.
Total annual residential building consents at all-time high, driven largely by low interest rates. We look back over the last 20 years.
Will the Living Standards Framework become a fully functioning tool for policy development and decision making?

The end of January marks the beginning of the school year, some parents will be reeling at the cost of sending their children off to get a "free" state funded education.

GDP - You know it's important, but do you know why, and what it is? (Video)
Wellbeing has been a core concept of positive psychology since the 1980’s – multifaceted and multidimensional, and with a vast body of research.
The BERL Local Authority datasets and further delays to the 2018 Census.
The release of the September quarter of the Australian National Accounts showed lower than expected GDP growth despite wage growth and a strong private sector.
New Zealand hits 3.82 million visitors in October 2018. Australians still make up the largest share of visitors, but Chinese visitors now represent 12 percent of total visitors.
National resident population estimates have been released by StatsNZ, giving insight into population change ahead of the census results being available.
A study of the size and scope of the Pacific economy in New Zealand, providing a foundation to understand the Pacific economy supporting further growth and development.

We delve into the figures to examine who it is that is moving into work.

BERL has modeled the impacts of five tarakihi rebuild scenarios, which assessed the impact of each scenarios tarakihi stock levels and other fisheries.
The Essential Freshwater work programme is a two-year programme to be be jointly delivered over a two-year period by a cross-government taskforce.
The kaupapa was wider than business and trade – environmental concerns, building the indigenous leadership pipeline, and supporting communities were part of the kōrero.
The Government has recently announced that a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management will be developed alongside a National Environment Standard.
An audit to better understand the challenges councils face in supplying drinking water will also identify sector-level issues in delivering public drinking water.
Prompted by the outbreak of campylobacter in Havelock North, a government review of the three waters system is being undertaken.
From 2014 to 2017 the number of international visitors grew rapidly. There is now clear evidence that the rate of growth has slowed considerably.
There is a range of people providing information and advice to consumers about insulation, with a wide range of motivations.
The New Zealand economy is currently sitting precariously on several burning platforms. Some are simmering, some are smouldering, but some are outright sizzling.
The increase of one percent in the June quarter is the highest since June 2016, halting a gradual decline in annual GDP.
We get a first look at the work of the Tax Working Group, which has released its interim report.
EV owners are great advocates for making the switch, what is the government doing to encourage more EV uptake?
The Trump administration has announced further tariffs to come into effect next week.
Net migration is falling as more people head overseas and the track of arrivals, although erratic is generally trending downwards.
A new migration measure and changes to the international visitor survey.
New Zealand Customs announced the removal of departure cards from November 2018, creating a focus on the new migration measures that will be needed to replace them.

Mark explores the BERL library and finds a few gems worth holding on to.

June figures are down on last year, but is that only because last year was especially busy?

Similarities and differences in the fire risk and response between California and New Zealand.

Delays in the Census data, and further changes in the IDI.
Robin Hapi writes about the Māori economy and its potential for future success on the world’s stage.

The latest resident population estimates have New Zealand edging ever closer to five million people.