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New treatment of Canterbury earthquakes’ insurance in statistics

Media advisory – 20 June 2011

Statistics New Zealand has issued an information paper revising how insurance claims from the September 2010 and February 2011 Canterbury earthquakes are treated in the national and international accounts.

The insurance will now be recorded in the capital account instead of the current account.

Revised treatment of the Canterbury earthquakes’ insurance claims in New Zealand’s international and national accounts is available on the Statistics NZ website, www.stats.govt.nz.

In summary:

  • Reinsurance and insurance claims from the Canterbury earthquakes will now be recorded as capital transfers instead of current transfers.
  • Consequently, the balance of payments statistics will no longer show these flows in the current account balance. The headline estimate of quarterly gross domestic product is not affected by the change.
  • In the national accounts, statistics such as national income and national saving will no longer be directly affected by these large and exceptional insurance claims.
  • This treatment means that New Zealand’s key economic statistics better reflect our economic position, avoiding distortion from the insurance claims.
  • This approach was decided after careful analysis of internationally recognised options endorsed by bodies including the United Nations Organisation, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank.
  • Following the September 2010 earthquake, Statistics NZ recorded insurance as current transfers, in line with existing IMF practice. Given the scale of the events it is now more appropriate to treat the insurance flows as capital transfers instead of current transfers.

We are releasing this information ahead of our Balance of Payments and International Investment Position release on Wednesday, 22 June, to allow time to understand the treatment and impact.

Colin Lynch
Deputy Government Statistician  

20 June 2011
END

For media enquiries contact:
Colin Marshall, Senior Media Advisor, Strategic Communications
04 931 4630 or 021 285 9191
communication@stats.govt.nzwww.stats.govt.nz/media

Visit our  Media Centre where you will find a list of all our releases and other relevant statistical information to assist you. We welcome feedback on this page. Email communication@stats.govt.nz

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