World

Peters expects bad news on NZ economy

By AAP Newswire

Acting prime minister Winston Peters has foreshadowed a slump in the New Zealand economy, citing US president Donald Trump as one of the reasons why.

The economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the March 2019 quarter, with a fresh quarterly figure to be announced on Thursday.

Mr Peters, who began an 11-day stint as leader with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern travelling overseas, says a smaller growth rate shouldn't shock New Zealanders.

"Will they be down? Of course they'll be down. But we said so back then," Mr Peters said.

New Zealand grew by 2.5 per cent - compared to Australia's 1.8 per cent - in the 12 months to March 2019, when a major downturn in primary industries was more than offset by boosts in construction, manufacturing and mining.

The opposition National party has taunted the government this week in anticipation of a smaller growth rate being announced on Thursday.

Mr Peters appeared to accept that fate when questioned in Wellington.

"It will be the kind of figure that I predicted there would be when I announced New Zealand First was going with the Labour Party to form a coalition," Mr Peters said, referring to his decision in October 2017.

"I said so on that night, where the shape of our economy was going, just in case you might start blaming us for the slowing down of the economy.

"You've got Trump. You've got China. You've got a whole host of things going on and New Zealand is still doing far better than nearly every other first-world country."

Ms Ardern will meet with Mr Trump in the pair's first formal meeting while in the United States next week.

New Zealand is growing faster than the OECD average, outstripped only by a small number of developed countries, including the USA and Ireland.