New Zealand's government hailed new figures Thursday showing a technical recession earlier this year never happened -- offering some political cheer as it lags in the polls ahead of October 14 elections.
The country narrowly avoided a recession in the first quarter of 2023, revised figures from Stats NZ showed.
Quarterly economic output was actually flat in the January-March period -- rather than shrinking 0.1 percent as earlier estimated, it said. The economy had already contracted in the final quarter of 2022.
And in the latest three months to June 30, quarter-on-quarter growth picked up to 0.9 percent, the official statistician said.
"The New Zealand economy is doing better than expected," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson, whose centre-left Labour government is trailing the conservative opposition National Party, in part because of high inflation.
"It's continuing to grow with the latest figures showing no recession in New Zealand earlier this year," Robertson added.
"The economy is turning a corner and showing its mettle in the face of a deteriorating global environment and the impact of extreme weather events," he said, referring to Cyclone Gabrielle in February which left a clean-up bill of up to NZ$15 billion (US$9 billion).
Business services were the biggest driver in the second quarter growth, said Stats NZ.
Opposition National Party finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said the government was "out of touch with everyday Kiwis who are struggling with the cost of living after six years of Labour's economic mismanagement".