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New Zealand back in the black -

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New Zealand back in the black

Kerri Ritchie reported this story on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:30:00

ELEANOR HALL: New Zealand is back in the black. New figures show the country has just scraped out
of its longest recession on record.

It is only by the thinnest of margins, but the Government is making the most of the results

As New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie reports.

KERRI RITCHIE: While Australia has narrowly avoided the dreaded R-word, New Zealand has been in
recession for 18 months. It's been a cold, depressing winter for many Kiwis.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper has been full of hard luck stories - businesses closing and
unemployed parents struggling to feed their families. But today, finally, some good news.

FEMALE NEW ZEALANDER: Fantastic, great news.

MALE NEW ZEALANDER: That's marvellous, great news, absolutely.

KERRI RITCHIE: The New Zealand economy has expanded for the first time in six quarters and it took
just about everyone by surprise. The GDP rose 0.1 per cent in the June quarter.

Cameron Bagrie is ANZ's chief economist in New Zealand.

CAMERON BAGRIE: The Reserve Bank's cut interest rates down to 2.5 per cent, so you'd be hoping at
this juncture that the economy should be regaining a bit of forward momentum as the bungy cords
attached, and we think it is, we're seeing the housing market starting to recover off those
precipitous lows and big falls we saw in 2008 and that's starting to diffuse through to the wider

KERRI RITCHIE: What really helped was growth in the primary sector, particularly fishing and
forestry - basically China wanted a lot more of New Zealand's logs. The housing market has also

Cameron Brewer from the Newmarket Business Association in Auckland, says New Zealanders have also
begun shopping again, as we race towards Christmas.

CAMERON BREWER: I think people are very recession wary, let's not forget that a lot of people like
to plan, a lot of people haven't got a lot of money, there's been a lot of job losses this year.
And so people like that time to plan, put away bargains that they see.

KERRI RITCHIE: But some economists are warning Kiwis not to get too carried away. Statistics New
Zealand says it's such a modest increase, and so close to zero, that no significant conclusions can
be drawn that this is a turning point.

But on the streets of Auckland, locals weren't going to let anything bring them down.

MALE NEW ZEALANDER 2: [Laughs] Well maybe my dollar will go further, but maybe my investments will
grow again, and maybe we can relax.

KERRI RITCHIE: Do you feel a shopping spree coming on?

MALE NEW ZEALANDER 2: I've just bought a lotto ticket; that's unusual.

FEMALE NEW ZEALANDER 2: Probably start buying a house, saving for the mortgage yeah.

KERRI RITCHIE: But a few kiwis were still a bit confused by the whole global economic crisis.

FEMALE NEW ZEALANDER 3: I didn't realise there was one actually, so yeah pretty good, excellent.

KERRI RITCHIE: Do you feel a shopping spree coming on or...?

FEMALE NEW ZEALANDER 3: Go for it, if you want to use your money and use it wisely.

MALE NEW ZEALANDER 3: I'm just doing the normal things I always do, I can't see why I shouldn't do
those things. I'm at the stage where it should be entitlement for myself.

MALE NEW ZEALANDER 4: I never thought New Zealand was in depression. I think it was just like, all
the media built that up from what was happening overseas. But actually in New Zealand I never
really saw that, it was just talk.

KERRI RITCHIE: No, never a depression, just a very bleak recession. Kiwis have their fingers
crossed that the better financial times are here to stay.

This is Kerri Ritchie in Auckland reporting for The World Today.