Poor NZ business confidence 'an issue around perception' not reality, says Finance Minister

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has today defended the strength of the New Zealand economy in the face of an underwhelming business confidence survey - insisting the report reflects perception, not reality. 

Robertson spoke on TVNZ1's Q+A this morning and responded to the latest business confidence survey from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce which suggests business confidence is down.

"I think the conditions, the underlying conditions of the economy, the environment we're working in now, has got a lot of opportunity," he said. 

"I think what we're dealing with here is an issue around perception, and, sure, we can improve the ways we communicate, and we need to always work on that."

Robertson also told host Corin Dann, there is precedent for these kinds of business confidence reactions to Labour governments. 

"This is not a new thing for governments where the Labour Party's at the centre of them," Robertson said.

"If you go back historically on business confidence data, this happens. It doesn't necessarily match up with GDP growth, which has actually been historically very good under Labour-led governments."

Mr Robertson also said it was unlikely any concessions would be given to businesses to improve confidence. 

"I don't think it's a matter of concessions, necessarily, but if we take the industrial law point, we want to work together on that," he said.

"Short and medium term, we’ve got some fiscal stimulus coming from our Families Package, but obviously medium and long term, we transition to an economy that’s more productive."

The Finance Minister responds to a gloomy business confidence survey. Source: Q+A