BNZ Confidence Survey
To help Kiwi businesspeople and householders make informed financial decisions by discussing the economy in a language they can understand.
Confidence Falls To A Two Year Low
Following the earthquake in Christchurch on February 22 confidence about the economy has fallen to atwo year low with a net 20% of the 456 respondents in our monthly BNZ Confidence Survey indicating theyexpect the economy to get worse over the coming year. This was down from a net 22% expecting improvement in the early February survey and 35% expressing net positive sentiment 12 months ago.
Approximately 68 of the 349 submitted comments mentioned the earthquake and some of thosecomments were in terms of higher business activity due to the refugee effect or immediaterecovery/emergency reconstruction effect.
Therefore one may be able to run an argument that without the earthquake the sentiment reading may wellhave declined anyway though there is no way of proving this. Perhaps the earthquake has merely crushedhopes many businesses had been expressing in recent months regarding the future even though comments about current conditions for many months have been overwhelmingly negative.
Net % expecting the economy to be better in the next 12 months
In the middle of last year we noted an unusual decline in the sentiment expressed by those in the legal and accounting profession and that change ended up correlating with actual weak economic data. This monthwe have found the sentiments expressed by these two professional groups to still be negative overall, but with some positive comments creeping in. Of note again this month is that all comments from farmers were positive, those servicing the agricultural sector are becoming more confident, forestry is very strong, and the information technology sector is largely noting rising activity levels.
In residential real estate there were some comments regarding pressure appearing from Christchurch refugees and underlying positive comments regarding the rental and real estate market in Auckland. But real estate overall still looks weak. Retailing also remains weak and tourism weak to mixed.
For individual industries responses can be broadly be summarised as follows.
More positive comments than in many months but overall tone still one of weakness and struggling clientswith cash flow problems.
Again all comments are positive.
Good with rising demand coming from farmers.
Pricing very competitive, activity overall depressed, bright spots here and there but patchy.
Overall quite weak with many operators noting a new deterioration in demand, especially joinery.
Export sector expecting numbers to fall now following the earthquake.
Struggling with low client demand. Many comments in other sections (mainly agricultural) regarding tighter
Logging booming but timber processing weak.
Telecommunications comments decidedly downbeat but information technology feedback quite strong
Still weak overall but more mildly hopeful comments than in recent months.
Some respondents noting they are busier but also many still clearly struggling.
Mid-Canterbury picking up on earthquake refugee effect but weak apart from that.
Comments almost all indicating strong tenant demand, especially in Auckland. Rents rising.
Real Estate – Non-residential
Some positive signs in Auckland but elsewhere weak.
Real Estate – Residential
Evidence of improving activity in Auckland but elsewhere as mixed as ever.
Real Estate – Rural
Mainly weak but one bright spot noted.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
Improving – same as for the past nine or so months.
Very few positive comments. Most negative still.
Tourism and Travel
Outward travel rising, cancellations of inward travel occurring, very mixed outlook with hopes of relief from
the Rugby World Cup.
Survey Date Better % Same % Worse % Net % # of respondents # of comments
6 March 26.5 23.8 49.7 -23.2 867 642
2 April 35.8 28.5 35.8 0.0 741 529
8 May 2009 50.2 26.4 23.5 26.7 618 428
5 June 43.3 31.4 25.3 18.0 566 409
3 July 41.7 31.6 26.7 15.0 621 443
6 August 59.1 23.6 17.4 41.7 657 404
4 September 66.7 22.9 10.3 56.4 619 377
2 October 63.4 23.4 13.2 50.3 547 341
4 December 55.4 32.5 12.1 43.3 536 348
4 February 2010 53.5 29.7 16.8 36.8 555 344
5 March 49.7 35.8 14.5 35.2 523 347
26 March 55.3 31.0 13.8 41.5 436 263
7 May 50.9 31.9 17.2 33.7 501 329
11 June 44.4 37.0 18.6 25.9 549 394
8 July 32.7 36.5 30.8 1.8 542 405
5 August 31.2 36.3 32.6 -1.4 565 398
7 October 42.0 33.8 24.2 17.8 607 421
5 November 47.5 32.8 19.7 27.8 467 318
2 December 42.0 34.4 23.6 18.4 521 339
3 February 2011 43.3 35.6 21.1 22.2 540 401
3 March 22.4 34.4 43.2 -20.8 456 349
INDUSTRY COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY RESPONDENTS
NOTE: THESE ARE NOT OUR COMMENTS BUT THOSE SUBMITTED BY RESPONDENTS TO OUR
We exclude comments which don’t say anything about current business conditions in an industry and are
instead mainly rants and raves. Also those with comments that are chopped off or indecipherable, contain
appalling grammar or are in capital letters are also left out.
• Chartered Accountant- Auckland- Clients still hunkering down, so not much special work
• Chartered Accountant Marlborough - The very real and continuing downturn in the wine Industry has
resulted in a reduced cash inflow just in grape prices alone to the province of around $100 million- this is
now having a major effect on the economy here, and while the current imbalance of grape supply
continues and as a consequence of over supply, more and more bulk wine is sold cheaply, undermining
the winemakers price points and margins, this can only continue to depress the Marlborough economy.
To rebalance supply and demand is a major challenge for the industry, and may require some
substantial vine extraction
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• We are an accountancy business in Northland. Economy slow for last year and not expecting much
growth this year although good signs in agriculture. Some new enquiry from clients, cashflow still very
slow, losing clients mainly due to closing business or being unable to afford professional fees.
• Accountancy---we will need to carefully manage the payment for our services and will no doubt be
discounting our normal charges to keep costs to a minimum and retain those clients for when the
• Accounting - picking up a bit as clients wanting their returns filed by the end of March, so work is coming
in. Couple new clients coming on board. Debtors slow to pay still.
• Accounting - reluctance to bring in accounts as need to pay tax or our bill. People changing from self
employment to employee. Businesses under huge financial pressure from financiers and IRD.
Temptation to discount and reduce margins to "get the job" reducing profits and risking the failure of the
• Business Consultancy/Chartered Accountancy - Consultancy busy; Accountancy steady; but continuing
volatility between each in recent months. Debtors slow paying; so adapting to this by supplying on
payment of invoice technique for the recalcitrant ones.
• Accountancy for Film and Television. I am busy with the usual rush of March new clients, but people are
noticeably more cost-conscious...
• Accounting/advisory (Otago) - we have been busy for this time of year. The earthquake has certainly
added a lot of uncertainty about the coming 12 months.
• Tax Consultancy - work is picking up, with a big reason being changes to tax rules.
• Accounting: not much better for some. Bigger divide between haves and have-nots e.g. jobs, contracts
• Chartered Accounting - Wellington - things are definitely looking up. Not sure how the earthquake will
affect the economy overall, but the year has started well for us.
• Accountant - finding a varied range of results in the last year. A lot of the trade for March 2010 was not
too bad, but the comments for a lot of them for March 2011 is that they have not had a good year at all
and things don't look too much better at the moment.
Advertising & Marketing, Media
• In Advertising sales, spending is lower than it was 12 months ago. However we are starting to see more
brands are starting to come on board in months leading up to the world cup.
• Advertising - everything has gone very quiet post earthquake, government sector continues to contract,
it is looking like another flat year.
• Advertising, business as usual for us
• Farming very good. Having problems with banks lending which is slowing growth down.
• Dairy - very strong. Farmers are giving generously to the Christchurch quake appeal.
• Dairy farming...money starting to flow...but banks continue to be the real grinch's.
• Agriculture doing well but concerns re ChCh
• Excellent payout prospects in the dairy industry will make up for a very ordinary season production wise.
• Farming, positive, luckily because they needed it too, but we all know what happened last time things
got a bit silly.
• Things are looking better (for the short term) than they have for years. (sheep a beef)
• Sheep and beef farming. Substantial improvement in income which will be applied to deferred
maintenance and debt reduction initially.
• Agriculture is looking good and will be better if the exchange rate drops
• Farming. Outlook is good. Payout and lambs well ahead of last year.
• Dairy - positive income growth occurring and benefit from forecast low interest rates. International
commodity prices are "worryingly high"
• Mohair industry has been lifting for the last five years and shows no signs of stopping. Current prices are
between 6 and 24% higher than 2 months ago.
• Dairying . . . .looking good
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Dairy Farming immediate future looks very strong. Costs are also lifting rather fast and continue with
caution as markets volatile. Any surpluses will be used for debt servicing trying to keep costs as low as
• Agriculture, Dairy. Lamb, Beef and Wool are stronger than they have been for years.
• Agriculture supplier. Things are still very busy and business is strong
• Suppliers to the dairy industry: business is to expectation but forecast for the coming year is looking
stronger than budget. It's good to see a strong demand for dairy, sheep, beef and cropping but it would
be good if prices don't go much higher as that will cause buyers to quickly look for cheaper options,
which will undoubtedly have immediate downward implications for our country's products. At least a
strong rural economy will help offset some of the urban woes.
• Agricultural Aviation. South Island. Increase in demand at last which should see an increase in
production in the next year or two but if past experience is anything to go by the increased production
will come into effect just in time to see commodity prices start to fall and most of them will have missed
the boat. I've seen it all before!
• Agriculture (Grain & Seed) - A firming trend for both demand and prices is the first bit of positive news in
the grain scene for many months, but from an extremely low base. We have our fingers crossed !!
• Very good in the dairy industry. For a change the cost of farming does not appear to be ramping up at
the same time as the payout is lifting.
• Veterinary Services - mixed practice. Things are quiet and not expected to pick up anytime soon.
• Residential architecture Wgtn, work very thin on the ground. Had hoped things would have picked up by
now however the short term ahead is some what of a concern. All current work is small alterations even
some only just needing a consent.
Business/Management Consulting and Broking
• Research - still tight, but market is still spending.
• Market Research / Writing. After a very quiet February, I now have some solid contracts for work ahead.
However, this work has come from offshore, not locally.
• Now more work coming available, albeit rather slowly. Business and financial consulting.
• Civil Construction: looking good with books full until end of May, long may it continue.
• Civil construction - Westland. Steady workload assisted by sending resource to ChCh for EQ recovery
works, no tender opportunities and slow demand so forward outlet shows no promise of any recovery or
improvement as yet.
• Construction: Lot's of development underway excluding the potential rebuild in CHCH.
• Building appears to be stalling. Companies have work in the pipeline, but actual orders with money
attached are slow to eventuate.
• House Building industry. Huge step backwards in Tauranga this week - the largest new house sub -
division has gone into receivership. Outcome will have serious impact from Council down.
• House Building Franchisor - Auckland and Christchurch (before the quake) doing fine. Other cities
struggling to get enough work. Some cutting margins so thin that are digging themselves into a hole.
• Residential Building Napier. The market is slow. Although the last few weeks has seen an increase in
people looking for sections and attending open homes on spec. houses, maybe a positive sign. Here’s
• We are in the construction industry in Christchurch specialising in controlled environment buildings. If we
want to survive we will have to adapt to build offices, schools etc
• Construction, light commercial, Wellington. Work in progress ok for the next 2 months. Lack of new
sales means that the outlook is quite grim.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Building industry - consents still very low (down 65% in Feb, compared to Feb last year for local Kapiti
new housing market) which makes margins very tight - some unsustainable quoting happening.
• Commercial Construction: Same as last time little opportunities no margin treading water. The diversion
of funds for Govt projects to CHCH will not help as other projects are put on hold.
• Building Industry. Good with the jobs that are secured at the moment but then nothing looking ahead
say about 5/6 months out. Roll on 2012 hoping against hope that there will be improvement.
• Building Industry Hawkes Bay, small contracts out for tender but nothing substantial. Margins minimal.
• Construction - work continues to come forward for pricing but competition is still very much alive and
well. Secured forward work load is presently at an acceptable level in respect of volume but, as
previously mentioned, financially awfully tight.
• My husband is a builder/developer. We rely on building one at a time and sell it before move on to
another one. With all cost increasing (petrol, material, etc) we feel worse. Can't see improvement
unless the residential market recovers.
• Contracting, Plenty of work from earthquake happening and forward cleanup work will be good. All other
jobs have been halted indefinitely.
• Aluminium Joinery Wellington. The work is there but hard in getting over the line plus once finished
seem to be always chasing for final payments. Commercial been done below cost by opposition so only
time will tell how long they can do this for
• Construction materials: Very flat, lower levels than 2008, was slower than usual for the holiday season
• Building Industry - manufacturer / supplier - the building industry seems to have lost even more
confidence with many building companies forecasting this year to now be worse than last. We are
seeing another round of redundancies throughout the industry at the moment.
• Building materials-Central Nth Island. Worst seen in a decade here. Our Manufacturing is all but closed
& some competitors are laying off staff, others rumoured to be closing unless conditions improve.
V.V.Low consent numbers make trading purely price based with numerous free additions required like
trucking, etc. Customers chasing work are competing to see who can be the lowest with carpentry
losses of 30 - 40k on whole house builds just to win work (& cash-flow) Debts are at all-time peak with
poor capability to repay.
• Plumbing and building Industry Retail sales are very slow and even quoting has declined. The huge
spike we had in September (pre GST spend) has seen a downward trend since. Some of the larger
plumbing companies have work booked ahead all be it at low margin. The smaller plumbers in general
are working week by week. We see no sign of change in the near future.
• Aluminium Joinery ( new dwellings only ) Things have taken a turn for the worse. We are one of the
largest manufactures in the country and have good insight into the building industry and new builds have
slowed even further. Jobs that are being done mean we are fighting over every job and its often the man
who makes the most mistakes in quoting wins the job. Its a case of just surviving , many will not. We
are being vary careful of new clients as they may be at their credit limit with other manufactures.
• Building industry - Aluminium joinery manufacturing - Auckland. We have seen a small increase in sales
over the last 2 weeks, but it's a day by day affair. There are large land developments starting where land
bankers have been waiting but these developments take several months to reach the level of actual
building. The charge, if you can call it that is being lead by non-professional building individuals who
employ cheap non-English speaking labour and the emphasis is on the cost nothing else. Hopefully this
• Commercial fit out industry. Local business recovering slowly but industry still recessed
• Commercial joinery lower North Island - very slow and getting worse.
• Kerbing contractor Christchurch We work in roading mainly private and local body transit work. Cover
south island between Kaikoura to Dunedin and West Coast. Short term looks not good with current
contracts likely to be cancelled. We currently have ten staff and don’t want to lay off any because we
would loose that experience for later that I see as our biggest problem going forward.
• Things have gone very quite in the Aluminium joinery sector as new housing has stalled and even house
alterations have taken a dive. Still pricing plenty but tight margins. So I think it will be like this most of the
year, so its just a case of tightening up and try to get though the year.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Export Education. In Auckland. Dropping NZ$ and currently students diverting from Christchurch to
Auckland mean things are quite busy and looking positive. In Christchurch an absolute disaster and
most private education providers there are unlikely to be able to continue. In the medium term, the
impact of the Christchurch earthquake might mean fewer students in total coming.
• Education - high numbers enrolled.
• Childcare. Very good start to the year with all our centres lifting in occupancy numbers (from 80% to
full), more people getting work and/or studying which must be good news for the wider economy.
• Better - people realise they cant cut costs more so are investing in training to raise sales and reduce
• International Education: A change in the Euro to NZ$ exchange rate will be the crucial factor in any
chance for a positive outlook for our industry. The strong dollar / weak Euro have made things hard over
the past 12-18 month. The earthquake in Christchurch will bring fall outs, as the graphic picture seen in
the media overseas will not help, especially because international students have died.
• Tertiary Education. Positive start to the year with full classes to date for our first semester. Next few
weeks will be interesting to see who hangs in there and who doesn’t. Government policy around access
to student loans having a big impact on students study intentions this year.
• Early Child Care - things are looking fine and busy
• Education: NZ student numbers are looking good for this year and costs have been held flat in the last
year but wage increases just starting to happen. CHCH causing problems for us (like everyone else)
and also therefore expecting International numbers to drop.
• Very very good - Coal mining
• Engineering. Our specific business is seeing strong growth demand mainly from the US around our
energy efficient motor products, demand for us continues to exceed our supply ability which is for us
• Consulting structural engineer, Christchurch. Two out of 3 local offices damaged, but all staff working to
capacity. It is clear that our local industry will not have anywhere near the resources to deal with the
challenges ahead. Whilst the future is good for our firm, we are concerned about how our sector can
grow the capacity needed to rebuild our city.
• Banking. The housing market is slow in rural Taranaki and even though house prices are low and rates
are coming down there are too many bargain hunters and greedy vendors wanting to hold out for rock
bottom prices. One house sale sparks another so the chain is easily held up when one person can't sell.
• Finance. Deal volume low, enquiry diverse, quality reasonably good. Developer activity slowly
• Banking - Home Loan Finance - Slow lending growth which mirrors your comments in the WO. Very
much a buyers market with buyers very cautious and not in any hurry to secure a property. Banks have
relaxed their lending criteria to assist first home buyers but this has not really changed/helped the
market much at this stage.
• Property lending and investment Very subdued and cautious No real new projects yet.
• Finance industry - private services Not a lot of confidence or spending at present and not likely to
change in the next 3 years
• Small Finance Company Sector Enquiries have picked up which is a positive sign but credit worthiness
marginal in many cases resulting in only a relatively low percentage of applications being approved.
• Finance. Steady. Business struggle for money so we see a lot restructures.
• Challenging, underlying economics improving, but subject to political and regulatory headwinds
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Investment - Still negative sentiment to anything other than bank deposits
Fishing and Seafood
• Wet fish takeaways trading very slow for past few weeks, doesn’t look like improving in the near future
• Sawmilling. Canterbury: There is great uncertainty regarding the timing of reconstruction.
• Forestry: Things are looking good. High demand for logs in China gives us good prices."
• We are in the timber packaging industry, things have been busy for us in February, and forward work for
March coming in looks good.
• Sawmilling. Plenty of export orders. Survival however depends on what our foreign-owned forest owners
charge for logs
• Forestry - The log side of it is still humming - long live China! But sawmills and processors in NZ are
really hurting. Domestic housing permits very low, exchange rates and log prices high.
• Forestry - Northland. Insatiable log demand with very high prices in China and India. This is now not a
short term boom but seems to be a new base level for both prices and demand.
• Forestry better, difficult to find some plant and operators also farm contracting, no new work, established
clients pushing work our way.
• Forestry is looking relatively positive, with good commodity prices and low transportation costs.
• Local Government. Building consents and Resource consent are pretty much on par with last year both
in value and numbers in the bottom of the south island.
• Social Services Industry. Workload is increasing faster than we can cope with. Funding sources
including Government (Ministry of Social Development) are being reduced or drying up altogether.
• Quiet in resource consenting.
Health and Fitness
• Health industry seems to be bursting in seams. shortages in staff is not helping cope up either.
• Health; revenues unchanged over 3 year period to 31/12/2010. All costs (including labour and materials)
increasing at higher rates than published inflation. Capital costs of specialised (imported) medical
equipment is escalating at even greater rates than NZ inflation levels. No new staff hire, no capital
expenditure, and no growth planned for next 24 months. Hunker down to survive...
• Better except Christchurch despite the increase need for health services.
• Acupuncture - I think the earthquake has finished my clinic on the east side of Christchurch and I think
the economy will get worse also.
• In my supplements business I have picked slightly but I am considering a second business.
• Good - Medical & Healthcare
• In private healthcare we have enjoyed a good start to the year as pent up demand from 2010 came
through as people who had put up with things decided to see the Dr. However, forward demand is not
strong and we feel 2011 will be flat and already feels like a slog.
• Kiwifruit. Still a lot of uncertainty around PSA and how we are going to deal with it. Large crop to be
picked this year but taste is going to be an issue for some blocks
• Kiwi fruit - steady - working through the implications of psa
• Very good. (Horticulture)
• Hospitality; sales down 8% from same period last year which was down 8% on same period year before.
Hospitality - Restaurant. Business has been steady since Christmas, but expect it to peter off over the
coming months with winter coming, costs continually increasing - wages, food and petrol, and people
generally trying to pay off debt.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Hospitality Industry Very, very tough. Statistics NZ shows liquor retail down 5.4%, not that bad but sales
lower than last year, margins squeezed, expenses up.
• Hospitality / accommodation - Looking up - until the quake we were tracking well ahead of last year and
hopefully will continue to do so
Industry Not Specified – only included this month because of the earthquake
• Good, We are getting a consistent pattern of quoting interest now. (pre Earthquake though)
Phone quiet this week
• Although there was some growth in the local market/economy earlier this year, this seems to have
tapered off during late Feb - early March.
• Very short lead time on new business, and no one wants to commit! Poor decision making and zero
• Things are looking tough - private discretionary expenditure is under pressure and the focus on Chch
and NZ generally (with elections etc) will decrease the amount available for overseas aid and
development work for the next 12 - 18 months.
• Sales are still strong but who knows what might happen next
• very quiet for the last few weeks , phone not ringing
• Christchurch building work will see a huge increase. Labour rates have already risen and will face
pressure to rise throughout the year.
• Continued cost cutting and eliminating waste, big drive towards gaining new customers
• The last two months have seen a definite increase in business. However payments are slowing and
once again we spend a great deal of time on the phone requesting payments.
• Very competitive, not many new business's starting up,
• Work is consistent with small shrinkage .
• Until 22nd Feb, our business was quite buoyant. Most of our clients have been watching TV for 10 days
- the economic aftershocks are yet to be evaluated ! We would expect (or is that hope ? )the Chch
Rebuild to provide a solid platform for our industry on a national basis.
• Raw material prices are rocketing skywards. Customers are ordering late expecting goods earlier,
holding no stock while forcing us to, and not prepared to take on cost of rising raw materials. The market
is very competitive at present driving down achievable prices and hence margins.
• Upgrades slow because of business uncertainty
• Rebuilding galore!! Opportunity abounds.
• Being at ground zero in Christchurch CBD the destruction of central business is worse than reported to
date. We have talked to all our business clients, our estimate is 40% of fee based is highly likely to fail.
The flow on from this to other business is hard to assess. How does the rest of the country make up the
difference? Expected we get hit also at the macro level.
• Bad week in Christchurch this week. We R in central city so can't get into cordoned off area. Thank god
our family & staff are all OK
• Telecommunications; UFB project clearly on hold with delays on all sorts of projects, hence we all share
Christchurch issues as departments slow down the economy with indecision.
• Telco - Heavy competition, low margins and no growth
• Telecommunications Nationwide - Auckland - very little activity in the area, all work in ChCh is stopped ,
probably for years. Middle NZ concentrating on upgrades - new work almost non existent. Pacific
Islands especially Fiji completely dead - lots of questions no purchases.
• IT Market in Auckland has picked up this year, averaging 2-3 calls a week from IT agents asking my
current position, as I'm a contractor.
• Information Technology: Very busy with lots of projects happening. The Feb 22 earthquake has diverted
some resources into completing replacement or alternative operations.
• Design and brand/web. We're flat out and hiring. Business seems very good for us, and for others in our
sector that we're talking to. Planning on further growth this year and we're so much smarter about costs
than 2 years ago.
• Not too bad, IT, ICT
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• IT (software) industry. Doing ok in Auckland but Wellington is dead and likely to remain so for the rest of
this year with public sector funds needing to be diverted to assist Christchurch.
• IT - Financial projects - thriftiness prevails.
• IT: good forward contracts but we have been slowed, as our office is Chch CBD.
• ITC - Christchurch office hard hit but team are all OK. We are busy at the moment upgrading ERP
software but no new sites on the horizon. Fuel (particularly if Saudi Arabia should have trouble) and
other price increases will hit many of our clients hard therefore taking out available system maintenance
and expansion funds.
• Information Technology - a lot more projects kicking off in the last month.
• IT Contracting. A lot of work in Wellington and more on the horizon. Finding staff is getting difficult as
most of the better people are fully committed.
• Finance: Insurance sales: Risk and Investments: Trend to cut down on premiums on risk and health
products remain at about 5% of book, but predict that this can possibly rise, earthquake has also made
some people more aware of planning for those events that might help sales in risk. But pressure on
household income puts strain on spending on risk, and poor investment performance coupled with
ridiculously high management costs does not break barriers to entry for that part of my market
• Insurance is a mine field. Talk of busy & I am not really involved in Chch claims... But the new insurer
underwriting positions are already causing issues. If clients had problems last during recession last year,
they have seen nothing yet. The strong intellectual capital will survive.
• Insurance - tragically, we are extremely busy.
• Law: property quiet, rural picking up
• Law = more positive than one year ago.
• Law - very slow and likely to get worse as banks pull out from supporting grape growers.
• Law - quiet
• Property law - quieter even than last year.
• Country legal practice. Last year was bad. So far 2011 looks like more of the same.
• Legal - Central suburban Auckland. New work is slower than for the same period last year. But what is
coming through the door appears to be more substantial. Trusts estates and disputes arising from same.
Conveyancing in the isthmus area is solid but further out very slow.
• Trial lawyer - steady to busy! Overarching sense of less cash around; Its apparent that clients seem to
be raising cash rather than drawing down savings. A lot more serious enquiry into legal aid options. Of
course, there's always the exceptions. Think the dreariness of the winter environment will impose a
• Legal - seems to be an improvement in number of Property Contracts (central Auckland - Ponsonby,
Herne Bay) but payers still slow
• Pretty good. Still work around if your skills and price are right (legal)
• Taranaki legal. Steady but unspectacular. Believe higher dairy payout and some easing by banks should
Machinery – Including Hire
• Equipment Hire. I believe (but cannot find data to support) that the economic conditions of the past year
or so have made people less willing or able to replace aging equipment that they owned. Therefore the
"propensity to hire" has increased - how else do we increase sales by upwards of 15% year on year,
when macro-economic conditions relevant to our customer mix say we should have gone backwards by
10%? (Some may be market share, but can't all be that!!
• Manufacturing - For us Aust orders continue strongly. The NZ orders were back to strength for February
including several customers who hadn't ordered for some months. March demand has dropped back.
Unsure yet whether that is earthquake related or marketplace not yet fully confident
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Manufacturing - very quiet at present, looks like being the toughest year yet.
• Heating Manufacture & Sales very weak plus the added blow of losing the Christchurch area sales
• Cabinetmaking: Generally enquires have been slow, through February the phones stopped ringing but
this appears to of improved slightly in the last fortnight. Although the level of interest is still low and
pricing needs to be very keen to secure it, resulting in what appears to be a break even scenario for
2010/2011, this said its a vast improvement on the losses experienced the previous year but doesn't
build any cash reserves for a potential repeat of 2009/2010. We had a reasonable volume of work to
come back to after Christmas but this has proven difficult to get moving with decisions coming very
slowly. Some new contacts were made during the worst of 2009/2010, doing work that really only kept
us ticking over, only realizing a low net profit, but we knew that the clients potential could pay dividends
in the future and this is starting to pay off for us which is encouraging. Keeping motivated when your
constantly being kicked down, and losing money in the process, has been difficult for everyone, we are
feeling a little more positive but by no means comfortable.
• Local manufacturing Good at the moment supplying item for ChCh
• Paint manufacturer - trade related activity far more robust than a year ago but still a long way off the
highs of a few years ago but sales to consumers / homeowners have plummeted to even lower lows
than experienced 2 years ago.
• Light manufacturing, at present business is soft, very up and down. Expecting this year to be very
slightly better than last, but by no means out of the woods yet.
• Blind Manufacture Clean and Repair. We were quite buoyant before the earthquake and it seemed that
NZ wide people became embarrassed to spend knowing that others were suffering. A little better this
week but still a long way to go.
• Metal fabrication. Scraping the bottom for enough to stay afloat.
• Slow and slower (manufacturing)
• Food manufacture. sales show increase on MAT.
• Manufacturing, revenue growth but tighter margins
• Food processing and marketing. Busier than last year but a lot of negatives in all industries and
associated business. Lower interest rates will keep thing more positive for investment.
• Marine. Surviving on service. People buying at the last minute so having to carry more stock in
anticipation of the customer coming. Summer has been "OK" at best.
• Marine. Not good now
• Marine and Woodworking patchy, some busy others wondering where the next job is coming from.
• Very quiet in the veterinary companion animal business, phone not ringing
• Logistics all good and growing.
• Boarding kennels. February sales 25 % off last year, after the Christmas/Jan period was quite good.
Expecting tough times for a number of months, recovering late in the year.
• Food Industry - we have shown an improve in our domestic sales in recent months but the market is still
tight. We have moved to export focus.
• Graphic and web design. January was busier than in recent years but things have quietened down
again. Debtors slow to pay.
• Fire Protection Industry getting tight with new buildings cutting back and general effects of double dip
recession having some impact. Recovery will happen but slowly and in line with general economic
recovery and growth in new businesses.
• Steady (Portable building hire) A lot of doom and gloom among my business associates.
• Electrical power industry - the possible partial generating asset sales are delaying possible projects.
Regulatory change for Line Companies still causing uncertainty - will continue for some time until the
rules are clear
• My company is going from strength to strength. We are thriving in this economy. We've grown 400% in
the past 4 years In store Security Grocery/Retail Security
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Flexible Packaging opportunities growing in Australia but still tough in New Zealand. However capital
being spent on packaging equipment in both countries at food processors.
• Property development , Nelson. Nothing new here, I’m afraid. Vacant land prices need to fall, or wages
need to increase before people will enter the market in any significant numbers. Otherwise, its just more
of the same, perhaps for a number of years!
• Property Finance Stalled - systemic collapse of the secondary debt market with no new capital raising
models yet emerging, coupled with banks' retrenchment has frozen the entire market. Developers are
still unable to finance new projects - three years on. Property values uncertain - reluctance on the part of
those with the cashflow capabilities to commit to new projects. Housing shortages in Auckland
evidenced by rental market reports, likely compounded by population pressure from Cantabrians.
• Resource Management Consultancy Industry. I am based in Ashburton and based on the unfortunate
circumstances in Chch I am seeing many enquires for business options here due to the scramble for
suitable land for business activities. In particular options for housing on land with ability to connect to
essential services i.e. power, water and sewer. I suspect we will see Mid Canterbury grow steadily in
both commercial and industrial activities over the coming months. In hand of this of course will come
increase in residential sales and the rental market. All welcome!!!
• I own and lease out residential property. Tenant demand in Auckland very strong, fewer houses around
so rents are rising, e.g. hard to find a 3 bedroom house to rent for under $400 per week in Glenfield
now. Demand also strong in provincial cities but it seems to me there is still a ready supply of houses in
those areas so no apparent change in rents.
• Residential landlord, I have been landlord for over 11 years, Wgtn market is the softest I have ever
known it. Having to drop rents to meet the market.
• Property Management in a rural town. Increased demand due to infrastructure projects on the horizon
and health & social needs
• Cleaning company / property management. Huge increase in demand for properties from people leaving
Chch. Most wanting 6-12 month leases and furnished. Will have minimal housing stock for seasonal ski
field workers this winter. Forward bookings looking great. Definitely need more staff.
• Property consultancy: freakishly busy but this will now most likely fade by mid to late 2011.
• Property investor in Christchurch (based in Brisbane) currently holding 3 properties, no shortage of
tenants, but do I quit this town and take the hit or hold for what will be a very long time to regain my
capital? Not a good situation.
• We sell residential investment properties in Auckland and have only seen our segment of the housing
market this busy in 2003 (our best year recorded) and 2008. There is little new housing stock around so
we are desperately trying to secure what we can ready for the housing boom which now appears almost
inevitable...particularly in Auckland.
• Rotorua residential investment. Some industry feeling that property prices have bottomed + increasing
rental demand + RWC = probably a better next 12 months.
• Residential property investor in Wellington. Fully tenanted with one tenant practically begging me to
sign a new fixed-term lease to have certainty of tenure and cost. Have agreed to do so, with 5%
increase in rent.
• Auckland property investor - rents going up in West and Central Auckland, good for cashflow. Soon to
lose more than we have gained with depreciation on building structure being stripped out, insurance
premium increases, rates increases etc
• We recently rented a property at 9% higher rental than we charged a year ago. (Wellington) We were
deluged by people wanting to rent the property and they were offering to pay higher prices. Something
weird is happening.
• Lots of damaged houses so rental market will be even tighter than it was here in CHCH.
• Rentals residential. Going ok.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
Real Estate – Non-residential
• Commercial Property: No real changes over the last month. Reasonably flat.
• Commercial Property - rents declining
• Commercial Real Estate South Island Enquiry is up but completions are down lots of lookers with a
view to the future will be some time before things start to pick up
• Commercial property management upper & mid North Island. Tenants that have held on until now are
struggling to pay rent or going under. A bit more activity on the re-leasing front over the last couple of
months. More demands from existing tenants for no rent increase, and from potential tenants for
building works and lower rent that asking.
• Real Estate Retail- Good enquiry in Auckland for good sites at the right rents. Looks positive. Auckland
was first into recession and hopefully first out
Real Estate – Residential
• Real estate & Property Management – Christchurch. The devastating earthquake last Tuesday was
another kick in the guts to the local property market. We manage approximately 900 properties in
Christchurch and 30ish properties have been confirmed either needing to be demolished or extensive
repair needed so far, and this number is constantly rising. Most of the tenants we have been talking to
either leaving the city or have already left. This leaves us a huge issue with rental arrears. However, any
unaffected houses are renting very quickly to those people who have been displaced but could not leave
the city either due to work commitments, family reasons or need to deal with EQC & insurance company
re their own condemned property. Also we have a fair amount of enquiries coming through re new
business as owners wish to rent out their property once they flee to other parts of the country. It will take
a long long time for Christchurch to get back to it's feet again. It would be interesting to see what will
happen to the rental levels and also the land value of inner city & eastern parts of the city.
• Christchurch residential real estate .This earthquake could not have come at worse time, the market
was showing good signs of positive recovery post Christmas . Now it has come to a halt and will be
many months before we have anything very positive to report .This earthquake has had a much stronger
effect on the community than the previous September quake, psychologically this is a city on its knees .
• Real Estate in Gisborne. We are doing very well in the first home Buyers market up to $250,000. Also
pleasing to see more activity from Investors. Not many buyers in the top end of the market.
• Real estate Tauranga - Feb started stronger but stalled after earthquake. Very good listings, sales in the
• Real Estate Lake Taupo; February produced the best overall sales result since July 2009, with March
activity looking fair at this point.
• Residential Property: Increased interest in properties, including luxury apartment style. Mild interest in
• Real Estate - Currently witnessing spurts of activity from people relocating to our area (Central Hawkes
Bay) where they get more property from their dollar. But generally a flat market with the sales activity
being assisted by home owners (vendors) who have accepted the current market prices and willing to
• I sell Real Estate on the North Shore and the number of sales has increased dramatically, the buyers at
open homes have increased dramatically and more listings are starting to happen also. So its full steam
ahead on the Shore.
• Real Estate- willing sellers and buyers are definitely making the right directional moves - cautious or
over cautious spectators are becoming incredible time wasters.
• Real Estate Napier a very concerning market, little enquiry, listings low and sales slow it is hard to keep
motivated and positive in such a market. An increase in private sales, trade me etc are making this a
• Real estate in Hawkes Bay has remained steady through February. We are seeing more buyers so
subsequently need the properties to sell to them! Homeowners are still wanting maximum dollars for
their homes, but this is not being realised.
• Real estate Tauranga, mount, slow sales but summer activity trying to start, top end property buyers
light on the ground.
• Residential Real Estate, Hawkes Bay. Slow but steady, looking more like 2009 than 2010.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Real Estate Eastern Suburbs. Steady listings, Auctions going vey well, would sell more if we had more.
Confidence only mid level.
• Residential real estate Wellington Picked up. CHCH refugees looking for jobs & houses perhaps
• Residential real estate Hamilton. Markets generally been steady since the beginning of the year. Huge
enquiry and good stock levels. A lot more confidence and even a good number of investors back in the
market. Most buyers realistic in that all "the good deals" have gone. A good number of multiple offer
deals coming in on well priced property. Realistic vendors reaping the rewards of a quick sale. The
majority of activity in the up to $350,000 range for us which is generally the first home buyer market that
has traditionally led the charge to better things. Looking positive for the year. No "boom" but a welcome
return to business as usual.
• Real Estate Can only improve But I have sold 7 properties with 2 more looking good since Christmas
• Taranaki residential is steady with the lower end markets still proving the most popular.
• Steady but hard work! Residential Real Estate
• Real estate slow, no real returns for investors in our area
• Real estate Wanaka. Few sales, prices trending lower particularly for land. Locals not buying - just
selling. No sign of a pickup yet. Big influx of refugees from Christchurch seeking short term rentals. No
sign of the bottom yet
• Residential Real Estate - Hastings / Havelock North (Hawkes Bay). Things have gone into a "holding
pattern" since the Canterbury earthquake. Good listing numbers but low attendances at Open Homes
...hopefully a temporary situation. Some recent enquiry from Canterbury residents looking to move to
• Real estate. Auckland city. Good buyer activity on homes that are $500k - $1.5k, and no complications.
High end in our market $2.5m+ is short on buyer interest.
• Residential real estate sales Auckland North Shore Certainly a very positive feel, 3 sales last week -
good start to the year - buyers at open homes are cash and genuinely looking to buy. Feels a very good
market at present! Long may it last
• Property Market is quiet
• Real estate sales, Auckland apartments. A firm start to the year and prospects looking good for the next
few months. Prices going nowhere fast but turnover increasing.
Real Estate – Rural
• Rural Real Estate, Horticulture not looking good PSA in the Kiwi fruit has sent shock waves through the
industry. Risk could be great. Offers nearer bare land values.
• Waikato rural real estate, dead in the water, purchasers in the main, can’t get the funding they require to
complete their purchase. Banks are now driving the market.
• Real estate – Taranaki rural has picked up with a noticeable increase in confidence and increased buyer
Real Estate – Valuation
• Auckland property valuation in doldrums, the market is very slow with punters not liking to borrow in
these uncertain times.
• Property Valuer Whangarei - Sales are still well down with the lowest number of sales ever recorded in
January. Prices have continued to fall during 2010. Definitely a buyers market. Agents have been
reporting an increase in enquires and more numbers at open homes, but this has yet to result in an
increase in sales.
• I'm in real estate a valuer tells me he is rushed of his feet with people borrowing to add additions to their
• Property Valuer (Auckland) - work is starting to pick up. We are seeing more first home-buyers entering
the property market, which may be a direct result of rental shortages and rising rents. Lifestyle property
sales however, are still really slow; this may due to the continuing huge gap between vendor and
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Industry: Employment Advertising/Marketing. Slow growth across the past 3 months (mirroring activity
and volumes of 2010), with a negative impact expected on recruitment activity following the Christchurch
Earthquake. Some concern over migration numbers in/around RWC2011 due to perception issues.
• Recruitment still slow as small to medium size companies keep their recruiting in-house to save money.
• HR - Employment Relations. Very busy - February 15% up on last year and that was a reasonable
month. Busy since November and March looking good - very different to the patchiness of last year.
Don't know what impact Christchurch will have on us. Mix of matters - long term confident work -
companies dealing with wider matters not just issues that have arisen and must be dealt with.
• Exec recruitment. very busy before quake but not sure yet what impact quake will have, particularly on
• Recruitment for the IT industry. Things have got off to a slow start to the year but most of our clients are
gearing up for growth having trimmed back significantly during the GFC.
• My industry sector is in Recruitment and as General Manager I'm responsible for all divisions. At present
we're starting to experience increased job flow in the professionals sector including IT, Accounting
Banking & Finance, Sales and Marketing and Legal. This is also supported by an increase in Business
Support positions. This increase is being felt nationwide with our organisation. Senior contracting is still
a little sluggish however permanent roles seems to be where the increase is being seen. The
Christchurch earthquake has had a minimal effect on other areas although many organisations are
focusing on this area as a matter of urgency to ensure staff are safe and sound. It's likely that the
contracting market will see an increase in focus in the coming months as it becomes a more candidate
driven market meaning that permanent staff are becoming more scarce.
• Executive recruitment. opportunities for candidates - slight yet incremental improvement this calendar
year. Many (passive)candidates ready to move once positions open up further.
• We have seen a sharp increase in the number of temporary and permanent roles being listed- it
definitely feels a lot more positive and candidates appear to be feeling confident to seek new
• My industry is Employment Services: Staff turnover (churn) is increasing as employees look to earn
more money by changing jobs or emigrating to Australia
• Bicycle accessory wholesale - Our retail customers are finding the overall market still slow, despite so
much enthusiasm for cycling. We think it is partly due to consumers giving more thought to conserving
their cash, and partly due to "bricks & mortar" retailers continuing to lose sales to internet sites. And
with GST now at 15%, internet sales are even more attractive.
• Importer Wholesaler, presently slow retailer demand, earthquake has dented confidence throughout
NZ, concern over high cost of CHC rebuild, confidence should improve in coming months.
• We manufacture and retail pottery. Our retail sales are down. We are looking at a small amount of
export to OZ and maybe further afield but this will only bring us back to where we were. We are
controlling costs while trying to keeps peoples hours and wages up.
• Very patchy (various retail)
• Retail - down in sales volume and spend
• Pharmaceuticals. Surprisingly strong sales last 3 months but there are signs that this is a temporary
catch-up from previous hold back of demand.
• Book Seller (Academic and General) - Public side of things is ok, academic side prices keep climbing
and sales keep sliding. Customers don't want to pay what the supplier wants to charge. It’s going to be
another long year... Anyone want to trade roles?
• Hardware Retail Industry - growth flat with last year, more customers through the doors but average
• FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) fairly positive
• Retail (Landscape Supplies, Wellington) Strong consumer spending at the end of last year has dried up.
Trade clients back to having little work (if any) and residential customers buying what they need and
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Who can tell ? Pharmacy in eastern suburbs, Chch. Fully functional , but for us does de-population get
balanced by nearby ( temporary?) pharmacy closures ? What impact on DHB budgets and consequent
• Retail Bakery Remuera. Another very quiet start to the year.
• Auckland Golf facility: Retail very thin and flat. Outlook does not look good.
• Auckland stationery & giftware retail. After a reasonable Nov/Dec, Jan/Feb sales have been very poor,
so not a great start to 2011. Can't see it improving anytime soon. With so much of the domestic
economy in recession it's going to be a very discontented winter!
• Retail - Sales have stabilised and we are seeing some growth.
• House wares and Giftware Importer - January and February on track to budget. Customers generally
positive about future trade. Good back order in the system for the next few months with the larger chain
retailers. Some CHCH retailers dropping orders out of the system after the EQ, but strong support in
• We operate a garage door business and February was virtually dead for orders(down to 15% of
average) for us but picking up in March. Still a roller coaster ride out there.
• Snack & Drink Vending is Erratic. We are a vending operation & many sites are up 1 week, down the
next with no apparent reason we can pick. Also, sites that normally do well have suddenly dropped up to
50% after seasonal adjustment. Others have suddenly jumped unexpectedly up by 30% on expected.
This is normally our quiet time & I have had to buy in more stock than expected, however I am
concerned that it will be a loss down the line by expiring. We experienced this same situation in early
December & had to throw away a lot in Late Feb.
• Retail bakery/cafe, Hawkes bay. Still the same consistently slow daily patterns. Trying to operate on
very low margins. Keeping staff to minimum numbers and hours.
• Retail - purses and wallets are closed
• Fashion - wholesale and retail. A mixed bag. Retail trading conditions remain very competitive with
price reductions a near permanent feature in many stores. That said (prior to the earthquake) there
were early signs of an increased willingness to spend coming through from several locations.
• Fuel/convenience. sales increasing due to closure of many smaller sites. Spacious sites, competitive
pricing & very good food offers drives increased sales
• Flat. DVD rental
• Retail Food business is struggling and higher input costs especially energy and food will only compound
• Sign writing: We are busy but know other larger firms are not.
Tourism and Travel
• Tourism Industry: December and early January were reasonable (although not setting any records) but
died off last half of Jan. Often there is a lull in last week of Jan but this year it came halfway through the
month and although there was a brief recovery in third week of Feb, it has dropped off again since then
and not recovered. General feedback of others in the industry that I have spoken to is very similar.
Offshore winter wholesalers had good Jan sales but Feb was weak likely due to 'significant weather
events'. Everyone is waiting to see how March and April pan out as they are key booking months for
winter ski product. It is hoped that Feb bookings have simply been distracted and will book in
March/April instead but time will tell. Chch earthquake has mainly affected Asian bookings with some
cancellations - especially Japanese. The people that are around seem to be "actively considering" and
not a lot of "doing".
• Airline- picking up
• Airline Industry - improved pax numbers, cargo number, revenue - interim result improved from same
period last year.
• Outbound Travel 20-30% up in February. Pent up demand finally manifesting itself. We are at the
bottom only last flaw may be a currency drop
• Tourism. Earthquake could provide another negative balancing the RWC benefits.
• Holiday accommodation, up on last year, going well. Napier
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
• Low cost camp accommodation demand is holding. Some potential for future increases driven by Rugby
World Cup and demand from ChCh quake.
• Motel. Excellent occupancy rates for our motel since November 2010. Next 12 months does not look
good at this stage with few forward bookings. Could be a real struggle.
• (Motel accommodation) A little better than last year. The Chch earthquake is having a short term effect,
but it is our busy months Feb, Mar Apr anyway. With Queenslander's & now Cantab's not travelling for
pleasure we are not expecting a better year.
• Motel sales Very slow no purchaser confidence
• We are an accommodation provider in a major SI tourist destination, visitor numbers and revenue down
10-15% on same time last year.
• We are quite buoyant - about the same as last year but the Christchurch earthquake may have shaken
long term confidence ( 'scuse the terrible pun) of both locals and overseas visitors - we rely on them for
about 30% turnover and if they aren't visiting NZ they aren't buying chocolate or visiting restaurants or
• Tourism - Backpacker Industry Summer in the North Island about the same as last year. not so with the
South Island which has been affected by the three bad Christchurch quakes. Winter on the way and not
likely to be good until the Rugby starts.
• Tourism. Short term patchy and unreliable. Things are looking fairly uncertain over the medium to long
• I work in transport specifically tourism transport and currently cancelations are running pretty high,
specifically out of the Asian markets due to ChCh quake, rest of world down with Australia flat at best.
• Uncertain - tourism
• We manage accommodation on Waiheke Island. It has been a strong spring and summer so far. We
expect it will be a slower autumn. Perhaps people saving money for security or vacation time for the
world cup. Hopefully a strong summer will lead after that.
• Tourism. Traditional markets volatile - visitor numbers flat to declining - increasing fuel prices very
concerning - margins are being squeezed.
Transport and Storage
• Transportation - Each month is slightly better than previous. Growth is small, expect it to be a slow rise.
• Transport. Things were looking good for February until the earthquake. While we have surprisingly good
volumes in and out of Christchurch we face a period of uncertainty.
• Transport. We are in our traditional busy period and even though I'm not happy with margins we are still
comfortably in the black. We must improve our bottom line and will raise prices to cover the fuel hikes.
Going forward we are hopeful of securing work in local infrastructure projects in our region. But after
seeing the destruction in Christchurch I am thankful that we have what we have.
• Our industry (transport) is fortunately doing quite well. Our competitor just went belly-up so we are in a
• Air Movement. Quiet - about same
Vehicles & Automotive
• Franchised Motor Dealer Auckland. Early signs of growth were apparent until the CHCH earthquake.
Lots on hold now while people and business take stock.
• Dry goods supplier to wine industry - busy with early and good looking harvest. Uncertain about market
for expected production.
The BNZ Confidence Survey is run (usually) on the first Thursday of each month. In the Weekly Overview email sent to the
24,000 non-BNZ email addresses on our database respondents are asked to click on a URL which takes them to a survey site.
Respondents are asked if they feel the economy will get Better, Worse or Stay the Same over the next 12 months.
Respondents may also make comments on their own industry if they wish. Results are collated on Monday or Tuesday and
released that day in this publication to media and WO readers.
BNZ CONFIDENCE SURVEY
This publication has been provided for general information only. Although every effort has been made to ensure this publication is accurate the
contents should not be relied upon or used as a basis for entering into any products described in this publication. BNZ strongly recommends
that readers seek independent legal/financial advice prior to acting in relation to any of the matters discussed in this publication. Neither the
Bank of New Zealand nor any person involved in this publication accepts any liability for any loss or damage whatsoever that may directly or
indirectly result from any advice, opinion, information, representation or omission, whether negligent or otherwise, contained in this publication.