Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says NZ should 'look at reality' of the economy

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says people should look at "the reality" of how the economy is performing, as well as at business confidence surveys.

The latest ANZ report on business confidence revealed it was at a lower level than it was during the Global Financial Crisis, which the opposition was quick to jump on.

"Perception matters - as a matter of pride I do want business to see the agenda that we have for modernising the economy, but also we need to look at what the reality is telling us," Ms Ardern told The Project on Monday evening. 

"We've delivered a surplus, we have solid growth - 3 percent on average - we have some of the lowest unemployment in the OECD. We're tracking really well," she said.

The Prime Minister said she'll be focussing on getting businesses on board.

"Businesses have said to us, 'Look we have a skills shortage, we have productivity issues, we have relied too much in the past on our economy growing on the back of housing speculation and migration and that's not enough - we need to do better than that'.

"We've heard all of that and we're answering that - we've got an economic plan that will modernise our economy but that does mean we have change and that does create a bit of uncertainty."

The interview took place during the Prime Minister's first day back at the helm after six weeks of maternity leave.

Ms Ardern, her partner Clarke Gayford and their baby girl Neve moved into Premier House in Wellington over the weekend. Mr Gayford is the primary caregiver.

"He's doing great... I'm very, very lucky - I obviously still have a pretty important role in making sure that Neve is fed, and I've been doing that in amongst doing my job," she told The Project.

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