A rise in housing work was not enough to maintain spending on construction in New Zealand at the end of 2013
Official data from Statistics New Zealand showed that the value of new residential work rose 1.1 per cent to NZ$1.18 billion (£598m) in the final three months of last year.
But non-residential work plummeted by 3.9 per cent to NZ$0.83 billion in the same period, with both totals adjusted for seasonal variations, outliers and post-1999 inflation.
This saw the size of the overall construction industry in the country fall 1.0 per cent to just above NZ$2 billion in 1999 prices.
The actual – unadjusted – value of work done in the sector in Q3 2013 was NZ$3.3 billion.
Health work took a major blow at the end of last year, with hospital and nursing home capital spending falling by 28 per cent after an even greater fall the previous quarter.
The education, commercial and accommodation sectors took smaller hits, while there was a minor rise in the value of industrial work.
Building activity stabilised in the Canterbury district, which is rebuilding earthquake-devastated Christchurch. Activity increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7 per cent, compared with a 20 per cent hike in the previous quarter.
AJ reported last month that in 2013 New Zealand had its best year for housing work since the global downturn began.