Jacinda Ardern won't say if petrol excise tax cut will remain beyond August, says NZ 'well positioned' despite recession fears

New Zealand is ready to weather the current economic "storm" despite recession predictions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

As central banks around the world hike interest rates and with inflation spiralling out of control, Ardern told AM that Aotearoa remains in a good position.

It comes after Statistics NZ revealed last week the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell 0.2 percent over the March quarter. 

"There doesn't seem to be that acknowledgement that, in the next quarter, we'll see results as we've seen in this quarter," Ardern said of the latest GDP data. "That's for a number of factors; the reopening of the borders, the fact that… in this next quarter, we won't see the same impact of Omicron and those restrictions," she told AM on Monday.

Ardern pointed to the "tough international environment" being behind the current economic situation.

"What I'm acknowledging, generally, is that it is a tough international environment right now but the underlying fundamentals for New Zealand are strong," she said. "Our economy has still grown and seen more activity post-COVID than we did pre.

"We know that, actually, there is underlying strength in our economy; we've got low unemployment, we've got low debt - we're well-positioned to navigate what is a very stormy, turbulent time internationally."  

Ardern said, "a number of really difficult" economic factors were being created by the Russia-Ukraine war. Those factors were hitting Kiwis in the back pocket, with skyrocketing prices for essentials such as fuel - which has climbed back towards or above $3 per litre across New Zealand.

The average per litre price for 91 octane at New Zealand stations was $2.98 - that's even with the Government's petrol excise tax cut of 25c in March, which was subsequently extended to August. 

Despite petrol costs continuing to rise, the Prime Minister would not say if the tax cut would continue beyond August.

"I don't want to give a prescriptive, 'If X happens, if Y happens," she told AM host Ryan Bridge.

"[There's] a lot of volatility, a lot of movement that's why, yes, we've done the 25c [petrol excise tax cut] but we've also done other things."