New Zealand in worst recession in years, BBC cites ‘strict measures in response’ to pandemic

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The liberal American media was quick to cite New Zealand’s immense success in containing the coronavirus to draw attention to the results seen in the U.S. under President Donald Trump.

Some in the media went so far as to claim that the countries doing the best against the virus “are all led by women” — the fact-checkers at USA Today had a real problem with that, saying it’s “misleading and lacking context” in giving it a “partly false” rating.

 

While New Zealand saw better results from a health standpoint, in large part because of its distantly remote location, the BBC reported this week that the country is in “the worst recession in years,” the BBC reported.

The paper cites the “strict measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic” under the direction of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the cause — Ardern’s Labor Party is seen as the favorite to be re-elected next month despite the recession.

More from the BBC:

The country’s GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.

It is New Zealand’s first recession since the global financial crisis and its worst since 1987, when the current system of measurement began. […]

The nation of nearly five million was briefly declared virus free, and although it still has a handful of cases, it has only had 25 deaths.

 

Statistics New Zealand spokesman Paul Pascoe told the BBC measures implemented since March have had a huge impact of some sectors of the economy.

“Industries like retail, accommodation and restaurants, and transport saw significant declines in production because they were most directly affected by the international travel ban and strict nationwide lockdown,” he said.

The article goes on to note the government’s confidence that its response will lead to a quick, strong recovery.

“Going hard and early means that we can come back faster and stronger,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson told the BBC, citing better than expected GDP numbers.

Westpac Senior Economist Michael Gordon is also quoted predicting a swift recovery.

“We expect the June quarter’s record-breaking GDP decline to be followed by a record-breaking rise in the September quarter,” Gordan said.

New Zealand has been held up by many in the media as a counter to areas that were slower to go into a severe lockdown.

The same media were quick to slam Trump in August when he talked about a “big surge” in the coronavirus in New Zealand, noting that the increases experienced in the country paled in comparison to the U.S.

“The places that they were using to hold up, they’re having a big surge. And I don’t want that, I don’t want that. But they were holding up names of countries, and now they’re saying, ‘Whoops!'” the president said.

“In fact, even New Zealand, do you see what’s going on in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front page, ‘They beat it,’ because they wanted to show me something,” Trump said. “The problem is, big surge in New Zealand. So you know, it’s terrible.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

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Tom Tillison

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