Economic Weekly: NZ heads to the polls

The NZ general election is now fast approaching, taking place this Saturday (17th October), but the polls are already open. New Zealanders have been encouraged to vote early this year to avoid large queues and are reportedly casting advance votes in record numbers.  Polls suggest a centre-left government will be returned, although nothing is certain in politics.  In terms of market reaction, its more about getting a clear result rather than who specifically wins – a clear election mandate would provide more surety to markets and the economy, whereas an inconclusive result could see a period of pronounced volatility.   Between the two major parties, there are only modest differences in terms of policy - with starker differences between potential support parties (Greens and Act).  Both major parties have demonstrated the ability and commitment to be competent fiscal managers.  For more background information on NZ’s election, see our note by Mark Smith here.

Meanwhile, NZ economic data continues to surprise on the upside, leading us to further revise our GDP forecasts (higher) and unemployment forecasts (lower).   The NZ housing market has barely skipped a beat this year, shrugging off the global pandemic.  REINZ house sales data for September is likely to be released during the second half of the week and is expected to confirm accelerating housing market momentum.

StatsNZ recently updated its population estimates to account for the census data, and as a result the population is larger than previously reported.  The implications of this revision are that housing shortages remain acute (see chart of the week below) and widespread across NZ.  Lower mortgage rates are likely just adding fuel to the fire.  Despite the NZ economy performing stronger than expected, and the housing market heating up, the RBNZ appears unlikely to back away from their policy stance anytime soon, with the RBNZ Chief Economist commenting last week that “we’d rather do too much too soon, than too little too late”.

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Jane Turner

Senior Economist

Originally hailing from sunny Nelson, Jane moved to Auckland to join the ASB team in 2008.  As Senior Economist, Jane's main focus is co-ordinating the team’s macro-economic forecasts.  In this key role, Jane was thrilled by the team’s twice consecutive win of the Consensus Economics Forecast Accuracy award.   

During her decade-long career in economic forecasting, Jane has gained a thorough knowledge of the New Zealand economy.  Her current focus is on New Zealand GDP growth, including both manufacturing and the construction sectors.  She has spent time forecasting most sectors of the economy, including inflation, trade, housing, labour and financial markets.

Prior to joining ASB, Jane honed her macro-economic forecasting skills at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.  Jane is a qualified scarfie, attending Otago University and graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics with 1st class honours.  In 2014, she took a career break from ASB to travel the world and learn to snowboard.

Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.

Mike Jones

Senior Economist

Mike joined ASB in 2019 armed with almost 15 years of experience in applied macroeconomic and financial markets analysis.

Mike's career has been all about distilling the risks and opportunities of economic and financial market trends for business. Basically asking the "what does it all mean" question. Mike's enthusiasm and skill for drawing out practical, commercial insights from the murky world of economics has been honed over a relatively broad base of experience.

After spending the early part of his career on the tools at the Reserve Banks of both NZ and Australia, Mike had a lengthy stint at BNZ where he was NZ’s top-ranked currency strategist. His regular and topical macro research also saw him pick up several FX forecast accuracy gongs from Bloomberg.

Drawn in by the prospect of putting strategy into practice, Mike moved from Wellington to Auckland in 2013 to join Fonterra as GM Treasury Risk Management. In this role, Mike lead Fonterra’s macroeconomic research output, and was responsible for the strategy and execution of Fonterra’s foreign exchange, debt, and interest rate hedging programmes.