New Colmar Brunton research finds business confidence is politically biased

Source: 1News

Business confidence is politically biased - that's the finding from Colmar Brunton research.

It shows business confidence and the economic trendline of National and Act supporters match up and comes as the Labour-led Government is struggling in the area.

Finance Minster Grant Robertson says he accepts the news, stating he deals “with real data”.

“Clearly, there is a historical alignment between business pessimism and the presence of a Government with Labour at its core.”

The ANZ business confidence trend line for the past three years and the economic outlook trend among National and ACT supporters are remarkably similar – it took a dramatic drop when Labour gained power following last year’s election.

Ganesh Nana, an economist for Business and Economic Research Limited, says it's not just a problem for this Labour government - Helen Clark struggled too.

“In the Helen Clark era, the 2000 – 2008, we had a significant number, we had a about 80-odd months of negative business confidence despite GDP growth and budget surpluses and other reasonably positive economic indicators.”

In contrast, former prime minister John Key did much better with business confidence when he came into power, but current leader Simon Bridges says that's because National policies serve business better.

“It's no secret business owners know that National is better for them and there are lots of reasons not to like what Labour is doing,” he said.

Business NZ boss Kirk Hope says Labour’s policies is what’s hurting their relations.

“Businesses have seen some of the policies that they don't really agree with [such as] employment law changes and they don't like the way the oil and gas ban was done,” he said.

“Those create real fear and that leads to a confidence decline.”

So while business confidence is a point of pride for finance ministers, Mr Robertson says it’s not hurting his own sureness.

“I'm not lying awake at night worrying about the state of those business confidence numbers.

“I just want to make sure we take a realistic view of the New Zealand economy.“