New Zealand economy isn't stalling - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

  • 07/08/2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended her Government's economic management in her first The AM Show interview after six weeks on maternity leave.

Earlier in August an economic survey described business confidence being in a "funk" after hitting a 10-year low, and economist Cameron Bagrie said the economy was "dangerously close" to stalling.

But Ms Ardern said if you look at the wider picture and different measurements, New Zealand is actually doing well.

"The economy isn't stumbling and stalling, I think we have to look at the markers of what's happening in our economy," she said.

"You know our forecast growth is still 3 percent, we have low unemployment, third best employment rate in the OECD, consents are up, consumer confidence is up, wages are growing so on those set of markers we're doing really well."

But she did admit that her Government could have brought on some uncertainty due to the fact it has been clear about making changes to the economy.

"We cannot rely on housing speculation and migration for growth, that does mean we need changes," she said.

"We need to focus more on exports in an uncertain environment, we need to lift our productivity [and] we need to invest in skills."

The AM Show host Duncan Garner said he had evidence of businesses being affected, after he received an email from a Takapuna store owner that had been forced to make a staff member redundant for the first time in years.

But Ms Ardern said she needed to look at the market overall.

"I need to look at the markers overall. If you look for instance at some of the surveys of CEOs they tell us a different picture," she said.

"That is not to minimise what that retailer in Takapuna is saying, but you can see why as Prime Minister I would be looking across the board at what some of those indicators tell us."