WALLINGTON: New Zealand has beaten all the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries with an annualised GDP growth rate of 3.5 percent and become the most rapid developing economy among all others.
2014 was a year of the rockstar economy where New Zealand was a top performer compared to other.
The economic uplift boosted business confidence and the employment rate even though it was mainly due to the Christchurch rebuild and Auckland housing boom. It also attracted record numbers of migrants including returning Kiwi expats deciding the grass really was greener on this side of the Tasman.
It was a year of falling oil and commodity prices – in particular for dairy which doesn’t bode well for dairy farmers and the rural communities they impact in the 2004/2015 season despite increased milk production.
When people tired of talking about dairy prices and Auckland’s housing boom and potential bust, there was always Shanghai Pengxin to get them going. The Chinese company, famous in New Zealand for the Crafar farm wrangle, got regulatory approval earlier this year for its $85.7 million compulsory acquisition of Synlait. It is still awaiting approval for the second-biggest foreign acquisition of New Zealand land, Lochinver Station near Taupo, which is valued at more than $70 million.
In other business outcomes, the ports and the banks made record profits this year while most exporters continued to struggle to make good margins against a strong currency. The share price of former market darling, Xero, returned from stratospheric heights of $44.98 per share in March to a more rational $16.35 per share in December. Telecom spent $20 million on a controversial rebrand to become Spark in August while Fletcher Building sold off its Pacific Steel for $120 million earlier in the year to Australia’s Bluescope Steel to focus on residential development.