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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard



Question No. 1—Finance

1. Dr DUNCAN WEBB (Labour—Christchurch Central) to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he seen on the New Zealand economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON (Minister of Finance): The Government’s efforts in securing the economic recovery have led to a sharp rise in business confidence. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research latest Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion, released today, shows that firms are more upbeat about their own prospects and the wider economy in the June quarter. On a seasonally adjusted basis, a net 26 percent of businesses recorded an increase in their own trading activity in the quarter, compared with a net 2 percent in the previous three months. They also feel positive about the next quarter, with a net 28 percent of respondents expecting a pick-up in activity, up from a net 8 percent. There was also a continued recovery in firms’ confidence about the general economic outlook, with a net 10 percent of businesses expecting an improvement in general economic conditions over the coming months.

Dr Duncan Webb: What is the impact of the economy on businesses’ hiring and investment plans?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Well, according to the survey, firms are looking to expand to keep up with increased demand, which is reflected in an increase in hiring and investment intentions. A net 15 percent of firms surveyed increased headcount in the June quarter, up from a net 8 percent in the previous quarter. A net 22 percent plan to employ more workers in the next quarter. Firms are also looking to further increase their investment, particularly in plant and machinery. A net 20 percent of firms plan to lift investment in plant and machinery over the coming year. The Government is investing heavily in trades training and apprenticeship schemes and is extending the training incentive allowance, among other initiatives to support New Zealanders into work.

Dr Duncan Webb: What reports has he seen on Government support for the New Zealand economy?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: Well, while confidence in the Government’s health response has underpinned the economic recovery, we do know that this can change quickly in a COVID-19 world, and the Government remains ready to support businesses and workers. Last week, the Wellington region went into alert level 2 for a week, allowing eligible businesses to take up the resurgence support payment to assist with one-off costs. I can report to the House that as of 1 p.m. today, 1,911 applications had been received and $2.63 million had been paid out to businesses to support them through this change in alert levels.