Reserve Bank drives economy deep into recession


Statistics New Zealand has reported that the nation’s GDP fell by 0.3% in the September quarter, contradicting many economists’ predictions of a small rise.

Statistics New Zealand has also dramatically revised down prior GDP data, revealing that the nation did, in fact, experience a ‘technical recession’ earlier in 2023.

The December 2022 quarter was revised down to -0.6% and the March 2023 quarter was revised to -0.2% (down from 0.0% originally).

The June quarter numbers were also dramatically cut down from the previously reported 0.9% increase to 0.5% growth.


Like Australia, New Zealand is experiencing a record immigration-driven boom in population growth, which has flattered the headline numbers:

New Zealand immigration

Adjusting for population growth of 2.7% shows that New Zealand is suffering a deep per capita recession, with growth falling for four consecutive quarters to be down 3.0% year-on-year:

New Zealand quarterly GDP growth

Real per capita national disposable income has also fallen for four consecutive quarters to be 4.0% lower year-on-year:

NZ quarterly NDI growth

The situation is similar in Australia where real per capita GDP has fallen for three consecutive quarters to be 0.3% lower over the year to September:

Australian real per capita GDP growth

Australia also experienced a record 5.8% decline in real per capita household disposable income in the year to September:

Real household disposable income

Basically, the Reserve Banks of both nations have hammered consumers with interest rate hikes, which has thrown their economies into per capita recessions.

The only thing papering over both economies’ cracks are their respective mass immigration policies, which is juicing overall demand and growing the economic pie, while everyone’s slice of the pie is shrinking.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.