Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office admits mistake over GDP comments

The Prime Minister's office says Jacinda Ardern made a mistake after she said in an interview this morning that she was "pretty pleased" in response to a question about unreleased GDP numbers.

When asked by Newstalk ZB if she'd seen them she replied: "We'll be putting out the audited and final results soon".

When asked again if she'd seen them she said "I had a hint yes", despite the latest GDP figures not due to be released by Statistics New Zealand until Thursday.

Asked if the figures were good Ms Ardern said "I'm pretty pleased".

Later in the morning Ms Ardern told Newshub she wasn't referring to the upcoming second-quarter GDP figures in the interview, but the unaudited financial accounts that she does have sight of.

"I accept he was talking about one thing, I was talking about another," she said.

"Of course a Prime Minister does not get the GDP figures, nor should they, those are held by Statistics. I could not comment on them because I had not seen them," Ms Ardern said.

"I of course was referencing something I had sight of rather than something I did not."

But Ms Ardern's office described her comments as "a mistake".

"She has not seen, because we do not receive, the GDP numbers," a spokesman told Stuff.

The New Zealand Dollar gained off the back of her comments, which she said "absolutely should not be the case".

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said: "The Prime Minister was referring to an unaudited version of the Government's financial statements to June, not to the GDP numbers."

National leader Simon Bridges criticised Ms Ardern for her comments.

"She needs to get that right, that she didn't shows that she is distracted, she's focused on the shambles of the coalition, rather than what matters to New Zealand."


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