Latest statistics show the New Zealand economy continuing to languish in the wake of global recession.
New Zealand's international trade figures have now been declining for more than a year, while new building consents fell in December, breaking five months of continous growth.
The number of consents for new dwellings fell a seasonally-adjusted 2.4% compared with November, with 1,382 new consents approved, Statistics New Zealand says.
The trend for new housing had been increasing since March last year, restoring it to mid-2008 levels, but still well short of the building activity up till mid-2007.
Imports fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, and exports have also declined for four quarters.
December's drop in imports was across the board, while the export decline was dominated by falls in returns from dairy products and crude oil sales.