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Efficiency – How efficiently are we using our resources?

Greenhouse gas intensity of the economy

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Although total emissions have increased, the intensity of in relation to the economy has decreased.

This indicator compares production in the economy (as measured by real GDP) with total greenhouse gas emissions. This measures whether emissions have grown or decreased faster or slower than growth in the economy.

Intensity of greenhouse gas emissions 1990–2007.

  • The ratio of total greenhouse gas emissions to GDP, which takes into account production and consumption levels, has fallen since 1990. This means fewer emissions are produced per unit of GDP.
  • Possible reasons include changes in the composition of the economy, for example the growth of the service sector, which produces relatively fewer greenhouse gases compared with other sectors.

Energy intensity of the economy

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  The energy intensity of the economy has decreased since 1995.

This indicator compares production in the economy (as measured by real GDP) with total energy demand (as measured by total consumer energy). This determines whether reliance on energy to generate economic growth is increasing or decreasing. 

Energy intensity of the economy, 1995–2007.

  • Since 1995, GDP has increased at a greater rate than total consumer energy. As a result, the energy intensity of the economy fell 14 percent, with less energy required for each unit of value added to the economy. 
  • A structural factor contributing to the reduction in energy intensity in New Zealand is the growth of service industries, which are less energy-intensive than industries such as manufacturing.

Labour productivity

The result is in line with the target trend (towards sustainable development).  Since 1985, labour productivity has increased an average of 2.2% per year.

Labour productivity is a measure of the efficiency of the labour force (that is, output per worker). Growth in labour productivity implies an increase in the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

Labour productivity, 1985–2008.

  • Between 1985 and 2008, average annual growth in labour productivity was 2.2 percent. This was the result of output (as measured by GDP) growing 2.7 percent a year, and labour input 0.5 percent a year. 
  • The 1.3 percent annual growth rate for the latest business growth cycle (2000–08) is lower than for previous cycles. However, 2000–08 period is not a complete cycle, so any comparison should be cautious.
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