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Worrying signs in National Bank survey

Business confidence has taken another battering, and the pessimistic feeling is becoming entrenched, National Finance spokesperson Bill English said today

"While the Government has had its attention on internal problems with its former Minister of Maori Affairs, it has ignored the problem of slumping business confidence.

"Dr Cullen persists in splitting hairs on this survey to try to prove they're all wrong, but whichever way he looks confidence is getting worse.

"The so-called charm offensive has done nothing at all but entrench the bad blood that's developed within the Government toward business.

"There are some very worrying signs in this new survey.

"Until now, while businesses have been pessimistic about the general economic outlook, they have remained optimistic about their own business.

"Now even that has changed. A net 4% of businesses now expect their own business to face tough times in the year ahead.

"The Government needs to realise that the pessimistic business sentiment is far more fundamental than just a 'blue funk'. Businesses thought they were voting in a Government of marginal change and higher growth. Instead they got higher taxes, a tariff freeze, higher ACC costs and draconian labour market legislation.

"This survey follows the biggest quarterly drop in consumer confidence, also published this week. The Government now faces a huge job to re-establish its economic credibility," Mr English said.


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