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New Zealand economic growth defies deadly quake, rises 0.8 percent: data

WELLINGTON -- New Zealand's economy grew a better than expected 0.8 percent in the March quarter, despite a deadly earthquake, data showed Thursday, sending the local dollar up to a record against the greenback.

Finance Minister Bill English said the fourth quarter figures — double the forecast 0.4 percent — showed the resilience of the economy in the face of the February earthquake, which shattered Christchurch and left 181 people dead. The Statistics New Zealand data also revealed full year growth of 1.5 percent, also above expectations.

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