ISSUE #2: Economy

KPI: Real GDP Per Capita Quarterly % Change

Source: Stats NZ

Key notes

  1. We have chosen quarterly % change over an annual figure since quarterly is used to measure recessions and is a better representation of economic volatility.
  2. External events like the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), earthquakes, floods, and COVID-19 can have a significant impact on GDP. The Covid limitation and lockdown rules that began on 19 March 2020 nationwide and the final lockdown that ended on 15 December 2021 in Auckland, obviously had a significant impact on GDP for some of this timeframe. Some argue that these were necessary and appropriate measures. Some believe that they weren't aggressive enough. And some believe that they shouldn't have happened, were too harsh, or went on too long. Context and judgments like this are subjective, so they are impossible to show in a graph. It is up to each reader to evaluate the proportion of responsibility they place on each government over the timeframe shown, versus factors outside of their control.
  3. Some argue that the convention of a recession being two-quarters of successive GDP decline is not a good metric of a recession. Others believe it is a useful standard to set an expectation of growth, and to hold governments to account.
  4. Remember that each Labour-led or National-led government has had coalition partners that share the successes, and the failures, with them. A full list of governments for this time range is at the bottom of this page.
  5. You can toggle the recession lines on and off by clicking on 'Per Capita Recession' in the legend underneath the graphic.

Data sources

Data shown:

  • Quarterly % change in GDP per capita.
  • 1991 Q1 onwards is when Stats NZ started the GDP per capita data series
    (the GDP data series started in 1987 Q2).

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