GDP falls 0.2 percent, demonstrating Omicron's blow to economy

New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022, the latest data shows. 

The new GPD figures released on Thursday captured the peak of New Zealand's COVID-19 Omicron outbreak. The fall follows a 3 percent rise in the December 2021 quarter. 

Compared to the March 2021 quarter GDP, which measures national output growth, this year's March quarter was up 5.1 percent. 

Statistics NZ said border restrictions meant there was little travel in the March quarter and the change in economic activity came amid several months marked by the community spread of Omicron. 

Primary industries was the biggest contributor to the March 2022 decline. Its GDP fell 1.2 percent due to lower outputs in food, agriculture, forestry and fishing industries,.

GDP across service industries, representing about two-thirds of New Zealand's economy, remained flat.  

Across goods-producing industries, GDP fell 0.1 percent - with falls in manufacturing being the largest contributor. 

"These declines corresponded to falls in related exports categories, including dairy products; meat products; agriculture and fishing products; and other food, beverage and tobacco products," Ratnayake said.