Jacinda Ardern acknowledges low business confidence in New Zealand, says she wants 'to confront that head on'

Jacinda Ardern this morning acknowledged low confidence from sectors of the New Zealand business community, but disputed it reflects economic markers "that matter".

The Prime Minister addressed the perception the New Zealand economy is slowing, and may have come off the post-global financial crisis resurgency earlier than other countries.

"Look there are global changes that New Zealand is not immune to, and there has been some commentary around the fact that we've perhaps come off the post-GFC cycle a little sooner than others," Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

"We are in an international environment at the moment where there is a tit-for-tat trade war that will be having an impact I think on the global outlook."

In its July update on the economy, the New Zealand Treasury said there is a risk that growth may be weaker than forecast in May's Budget.

Ms Ardern argued low Kiwi business confidence may be reflecting this international climate.

However, she argued that growth, at 3 per cent, was "looking pretty solid", consumer confidence was up, debt was low, New Zealand unemployment rates were some of the lowest in the OECD, and the Government was running a surplus.

"So on things that matter, yeah, actually our markers are good," the Prime Minister said. 

What was a problem to growth, she accepted, was a skills shortage.

"Having said that, I do acknowledge there is a perception in our business community, reflected in our surveys... I want to confront that head on," Ms Ardern said.

"Confidence and certainty are obviously connected and we are going through a period of change.

"The business wants us to invest in skills, it wants a more productive economy, it wants us to diversify, that means there will be change. We need to bring them with us on that."

The PM said pessimism from the business community was not reflected in most actual NZ economic markers. Source: Breakfast



Part of human skull found near Mount Maunganui wharf

Part of a human skull has been found by a fisherman at Mount Maunganui.

Police say a fisherman found the human remains near Salisbury Wharf at 1.30pm.

A forensic pathologist is examing the skull and police say initial indications suggest the remains belong to an adult human and have been in the water for some years.

Police say there is nothing to suggest that there are any suspicious circumstances in relation to the skull and the matter has been referred to the Coroner.

Today the Police National Dive Squad will be assisting with a search of the area surrounding Salisbury Wharf. They will be assisted by the Tauranga Harbourmaster.

Huge Panorama from the famous Mt. Maunganui, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand (XXXL)
Mount Maunganui (file picture). Source: istock.com

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Watch: Jacinda Ardern reveals which primary school daughter Neve will attend - 'Not something that's too far off to think about'

Just weeks after becoming a mother for the first time, Jacinda Ardern has revealed daughter Neve will "absolutley" be sent to a public school, and even signalled which one.

In her first full week back in the Prime Minister's seat, Ms Ardern said the education of Neve is "not something that's too far off to think about' and that, if still living in Auckland, the local neighbourhood schools will be more than suitable.

"Absolutely, the schools in my neighbourhood are fantastic. And if we're still living in the same area which I assume we will be she'll be going to Balmoral Primary," Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast.

Balmoral Primary is located in the inner city Auckland suburb of Mount Eden.

But despite the Prime Minister's early planning for her daughter's education, baby Neve herself has been a little resistant to any routine behaviour for her parents to plan their day around yet.

"I laugh at your suggestion of routine," Ardern said.

"No she's a bit too young, she's obviously only six weeks so no it takes a little longer.

"Well, I'm told it's not unusual for it to take a little longer for a routine to set in. So nope, but we're making it work." 

The Prime Minister says Neve will go to a public school. Source: Breakfast