Shamubeel Eaqub - New Zealand recession not a question of if, but when

An economist says New Zealand's economy could soon hit a rough spot due to shifting global forces.

Shamubeel Eaqub told The AM Show he's sure a recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, is coming, but he can't say when it will happen.

"It's not a question of if, but when and what's the trigger? I think the trigger is going to be global," he said.

"We're so reliant on the global economy and that's where the biggest risks are. The share market's at record highs, the amount of debt sloshing around the global economy is at record highs and essentially that's where the risk is coming from in New Zealand."

He said there were some clear signs of trouble ahead for businesses and consumers, which can't be chalked up to people talking themselves into losing confidence in the economy.

"There are reasons why people are worried, because they're seeing growth in sales but not increasing growth in profits, they're seeing that they can't hire skilled staff so they can't grow more.

"There are good reasons why normal businesses are not looking at each other and saying 'actually we're seeing our businesses get harder to do'."

New Zealand's last recession was in 2008 during the midst of the global financial crisis. During the recession, which ended in 2009, at least 67 finance companies collapsed, house sales fell 42 percent and the Reserve Bank cut the Official Cash Rate from an all-time high of 8.25 percent to 2.5 percent.