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Gross Domestic Product: December 2011 quarter (new industry classification)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  15 May 2012

About gross domestic product

Gross domestic product (GDP) is New Zealand's official measure of economic growth.

Three different approaches can be taken to calculate GDP – the production approach, the expenditure approach, and the income approach. The production and expenditure approaches are used to calculate New Zealand's GDP on a quarterly basis. The production approach is available on a chain-volume basis, while the expenditure approach is on a chain-volume basis, and in current prices. Chain-volume estimates have the effect of price change (inflation) removed from them.

The production approach to GDP measures the total value of goods and services produced in New Zealand, after deducting the cost of goods and services used in the production process. This is also known as the value-added approach.

The expenditure approach to GDP (also known as GDE) measures the final purchases of goods and services produced in the New Zealand domestic territory. Exports are added to domestic consumption, as they represent goods and services produced in New Zealand, while imports are subtracted. Imports represent goods and services produced by other economies.

Conceptually, both the production-based and expenditure-based GDP series should produce the same growth rates, because what is produced by an economy should equal what is used. However, as each series uses independent data and estimation techniques, some differences between the alternative measures arise. The expenditure-based series has historically shown more quarterly volatility and is more likely to be subject to timing and valuation problems. For these reasons, the production-based measure is the preferred measure for quarter-on-quarter and annual changes.

More definitions

Broad industry groups: in tables 1, 2, 3 and 4, industry groups are combined to form the following broad groupings, based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06):

  • primary industries (agriculture, forestry, and fishing; mining)
  • goods-producing industries (manufacturing; electricity, gas, water, and waste services; construction)
  • service industries (wholesale trade; retail, accommodation, and restaurants; transport, storage and warehousing; finance and insurance services; rental, hiring, and real estate services; professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support services; public administration and safety; education and training; health care and social assistance; arts, recreation and other services).

As well as these industrial groupings, there is an 'unallocated' category. This category includes bank service charges and taxes on production and imports (import duties, GST, and taxes on capital transactions) that are not allocated to industries.

Business investment: measures the investment of producers in land improvements; non-residential building; other construction; transport equipment; plant, machinery, and equipment; and intangibles (mining exploration and computer software).

Change in inventories: Change in the value of inventories of raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods, over a given period. The change is measured in the appropriate prices in the market at the time additions and withdrawals are made. The correct valuation of the change in inventories requires continually updated data on the quantities of individual commodities held in stock together with appropriate prices. As this data is rarely available, the usual practice is to revalue stocks at the end of the period in order to approximate as closely as possible the value of the physical change in stocks during a given period.

Chain-volume series expressed in 1995/96 prices: The series in this release are chain-linked and expressed in the average prices of the 1995/96 year. They are best described as annually reweighted, chained Laspeyres volume indexes. Series are expressed in 1995/96 dollars rather than as index numbers, since this has the advantage of showing the relative size of each component. For more information on chain-volume series, please refer to ‘Constructing a chain-volume series’ in the Data quality section of this release.

Durable goods: are goods that are not consumed in one use (eg appliances and electronic goods).

Gross fixed capital formation: Outlays of producers on durable fixed assets, such as buildings, motor vehicles, plant and machinery, hydro-electric construction, roading, and improvements to land. 'Gross' indicates that consumption of fixed capital is not deducted from the value of the outlays.

Gross national disposable income (GNDI): is the income received (less income payable) by New Zealand residents, from both domestic and overseas sources, after taking account of income redistribution by way of international transfers, or gross national income (GNI) plus international transfers.

Household consumption expenditure (HCE): is an estimate of total expenditure by New Zealand resident households. It includes expenditure by New Zealand households overseas but does not include expenditure by overseas tourists in New Zealand.

Implicit price deflators: Tables 21 and 22 contain implicit price deflators (IPDs) for expenditure on GDP and its components. IPDs provide a broad measure of price change for total economic activity and each of the expenditure components.

Non-durable goods: are goods that are either consumed immediately in one use or within 3 years.

Real gross national disposable income (RGNDI): measures the real purchasing power of national disposable income, taking into account changes in the terms of trade, and real gains from net investment and transfer income with the rest of the world. Effectively, it is a measure of the volume of goods and services New Zealand residents have command over. For more information on calculating RGNDI, please refer to ‘Calculating real gross national disposable income’ in the Data quality section of this release.

Services: products other than tangible goods. Services result from production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units, or makes the exchange of products or financial assets possible.

Value added: income formed in the production process. Value added equals output minus intermediate consumption. Value added is the income available to reward the production factors involved.

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