Rock star economy? You bet

The New Zealand economy grew 3.3 percent in calendar 2014, the fastest pace since 2007, before the global financial crisis.

Gross domestic product expanded in the fourth quarter of 2014 as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services.

GDP rose 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, from a revised 0.9 percent increase three months earlier, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The pace of growth broadly matched expectations in a $238 billion economy that has benefited from migration-fuelled population growth, an improving labour market, lower borrowing and fuel costs, and rising house prices.

Tourists also helped drive growth, spending $7.4b in 2014, up 13 percent from the previous year.

And not a single mention of primary industry being responsible for the growth.

Rental, hiring and real estate services grew 1.2 percent in the final three months of 2014, reflecting an increase in house sales. The annual gain was 1.6 percent.

Growth is seen abating only slowly, according to the NZ Institute of Economic Research’s consensus forecasts published this week.

That showed expectations for 3.3 percent growth in the 12 months ending March 31, slowing to a 2.9 percent pace in 2016 and 2.8 percent in 2017.

Today’s data confirms the economy is continuing to grow at a sturdy pace, while inflation remains subdued.

Just as well, because at a political level the government is suffering speed wobbles. ?With a bit of lucj they’ll have sorted those out before the next general election. ? As long as the economy keeps providing jobs and increased wages, National’s 4th term is looking better than an even chance. ?Voters, after all, tend to vote with their pockets, and side shows have been well proven as irrelevant.