New Zealand's economy has ground to a halt with weak dairy prices and a construction slow-down.

ASB economists said forecasts indicate economic growth would continue to slow to a 2.2 per cent and population growth was accounting for much of New Zealand's economic growth.

"On a per-capita basis, there has essentially been no growth over the past year," ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said.

Tuffley said growth was expected to stabilise, then recover later in the year with support from lower interest rates, and through 2017.


"Declines in interest rates and the NZD over the past year will help support growth - and further rate cuts later this year should provide an extra boost, ensuring inflation lifts more firmly back into the RBNZ's target," Tuffley said.

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Falling dairy incomes remain the main headwind for the economy, while tourism is the notable bright note, according to ASB.

The Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler left the official cash rate at 2.5 per cent, saying further reductions to the rate might be needed with inflation set to take longer to return to the bank's target range of 1-3 per cent.

The Reserve Bank said the inflation rate was expected to move inside the target range from early next year, as earlier petrol price declines will drop out of the annual calculation, and the lower New Zealand dollar will be reflected in higher tradables prices.