New Zealand’s GDP contracted by 12.2 per cent between April and June as a result of lockdown measures and closed borders, official figures show.
The country is facing its first recession since the global financial crisis of 2008-2012, and its worst ever recession since 1987, when the current system of measurement began.
The Government, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has said that the country’s aggressive pandemic response will allow it to act as aggressively in its efforts to re-ignite the economy.
New Zealand’s close-to five million inhabitants enjoyed a COVID-free environment for around 100 days, after which a handful of cases re-emerged. It has had 25 deaths related to the virus so far.
Next month’s elections are likely to see economic issues prioritised, with a Government spokesperson commenting that the lockdown measures had huge impacts on industries like retail, accommodation, restaurants and transport.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the GDP numbers were better than expected, and suggested a strong recovery ahead.
"Going hard and early means that we can come back faster and stronger," he said.
Opposition politicians have called into question the wisdom of inflicting harsher-than-required measures resulting in an economy in free-fall.