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."