New Zealand Economy - 2022


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Economic overview

Over the past 40 years, the government has transformed New Zealand from an agrarian economy, dependent on concessionary British market access, to a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally. This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes, but left behind some at the bottom of the ladder and broadened and deepened the technological capabilities of the industrial sector.


Per capita income rose for 10 consecutive years until 2007 in purchasing power parity terms, but fell in 2008-09. Debt-driven consumer spending drove robust growth in the first half of the decade, fueling a large balance of payments deficit that posed a challenge for policymakers. Inflationary pressures caused the central bank to raise its key rate steadily from January 2004 until it was among the highest in the OECD in 2007 and 2008. The higher rate attracted international capital inflows, which strengthened the currency and housing market while aggravating the current account deficit. Rising house prices, especially in Auckland, have become a political issue in recent years, as well as a policy challenge in 2016 and 2017, as the ability to afford housing has declined for many.


Expanding New Zealand’s network of free trade agreements remains a top foreign policy priority. New Zealand was an early promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and was the second country to ratify the agreement in May 2017. Following the United States’ withdrawal from the TPP in January 2017, on 10 November 2017 the remaining 11 countries agreed on the core elements of a modified agreement, which they renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In November 2016, New Zealand opened negotiations to upgrade its FTA with China; China is one of New Zealand’s most important trading partners.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$215.6 billion (2020 est.)

$213.5 billion (2019 est.)

$210.07 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Real GDP growth rate

2.22% (2019 est.)

3.22% (2018 est.)

3.8% (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$42,400 (2020 est.)

$42,900 (2019 est.)

$42,900 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$205.202 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.6% (2019 est.)

1.5% (2018 est.)

1.8% (2017 est.)

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA (2011)

Moody's rating: Aaa (2002)

Standard & Poors rating: AA (2011)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.5% (2017 est.)

services: 72.8% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 57.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 18.2% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 23.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.3% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 27% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -26.1% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, beef, kiwi fruit, apples, potatoes, mutton, grapes, wheat, barley, green onions/shallots


agriculture, forestry, fishing, logs and wood articles, manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, real estate services, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

1.8% (2017 est.)

Labor force

2.709 million (2020 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 6.6%

industry: 20.7%

services: 72.7% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

4.13% (2019 est.)

4.32% (2018 est.)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 10.5%

male: 10.8%

female: 10.2% (2021 est.)

Population below poverty line


Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

36.2 (1997)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA


revenues: 74.11 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 70.97 billion (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

31.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

33.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

36.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

note: this is the fiscal year for tax purposes

Current account balance

-$6.962 billion (2019 est.)

-$8.742 billion (2018 est.)


$50.43 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$57.16 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$57.71 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

Exports - partners

China 28%, Australia 14%, United States 9%, Japan 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

dairy products, sheep/goat meats, lumber, beef products, fresh fruits (2019)


$47.86 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$57.75 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$58.39 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

Imports - partners

China 18%, Australia 15%, United States 9%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, delivery trucks, gas turbines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$20.68 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$17.81 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt - external

$190.621 billion (2019 est.)

$192.327 billion (2018 est.)

Exchange rates

New Zealand dollars (NZD) per US dollar -

1.41794 (2020 est.)

1.52334 (2019 est.)

1.45709 (2018 est.)

1.4279 (2014 est.)

1.2039 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding New Zealand on this page is re-published from the 2022 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of New Zealand 2022 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about New Zealand 2022 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 01 Dec 23, Copyright © 23 ITA all rights reserved.