GDP stats delayed for 2 weeks after earthquake disruption

Diggers demolish the row of shops on the east side of Colombo Street in Sydenham. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Diggers demolish the row of shops on the east side of Colombo Street in Sydenham. Photo / Geoff Sloan

The release of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the March quarter may be delayed for up to two weeks due to disruptions caused by the February 22 earthquake that hit Christchurch, Statistics New Zealand says.

The data was due to be released on June 23.

Government Statistician Geoff Bascand said this morning the extra time would be used to analyse how the earthquake affected Stats NZ's processes for measuring GDP and to get supplementary data for the release.

Other major releases are due to be released on time, such as Balance of Payments data (June 22), the Consumers Price Index (April 18) and the Household Labour Force Survey (May 5).

Bascand would not be drawn into his thinking on when a census should be held, saying his advice and the decision was now before the government.

The census was cancelled due to the February earthquake for an indefinite period of time. The Statistics Act 1975 states a census must be held every five years from 1976, meaning government will either have to hold it this year, or change the legislation so it can be delayed beyond 2011.

Bascand did indicate however that the cost of 're-holding' this year's census would increase gradually the further delayed it is.

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