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Additional information about national accounts and gross domestic product

Every day, millions of transactions take place in the New Zealand economy:

  • businesses buy and sell goods and services
  • government collects taxes and makes transfer payments to beneficiaries
  • people are paid for the work they do and use this income to buy food or pay rent.

Measuring these transactions is essential to understanding how the economy operates. These transactions are classified, measured, and recorded in the national accounts. The national accounts provide a convenient summary of the key economic and financial flows in New Zealand. They also provide a framework in which to analyse and compare important economic variables, such as household consumption and savings. The national accounts are organised within the framework of the New Zealand System of National Accounts, which contains data collected from a wide and varied range of surveys and censuses, providing the necessary basis for subsequent socio-economic analysis.

The national accounts record all types of transactions. They do so for the economy as a whole, and for certain groups or sectors within it. This provides information on economic activities such as:

  • the production of goods and services and the costs involved in producing them
  • the incomes earned by various groups within the economy, and what they do with them
  • the economic relationship with the rest of the world.

The main outputs are:

  • gross domestic product (GDP) – the measure of the value added from all economic activity in New Zealand.
  • real gross national disposable income – the net income of New Zealand residents from both domestic and overseas sources after taking into account income redistribution by way of international transfers, or gross national income plus net international transfers. The real gross national disposable income statistics are published with the quarterly GDP information release.
  • government sector statistics – a measure of the financial performance of central and local government operations.
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