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Still not out of the woods

Bill English

National Finance Spokesperson

Wednesday 30 August 2000

Still not out of the woods

The National Bank's confidence survey has been overtaken by events and does not show how businesses feel after the alarming drop in the dollar, National Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

"The survey was taken before the dive in the currency that has shaken confidence anew.

"It was clear that even Dr Cullen's confidence was knocked by the currency's fall when he said New Zealand isn't about to become a banana republic. It's obviously a fear he has been entertaining.

"The survey's snapshot of pre-dollar-dive sentiment shows that even then confidence had only 'recovered' to the level it hit at the tail-end of the Asian crisis

"That's hardly an achievement. There's nothing to be proud of when businesses are still largely pessimistic about where New Zealand is heading.

"After bottoming out with a net 52% of respondents expecting general business conditions to deteriorate in June, there are still a net 14% expecting a deterioration in August.

"Government policies and attitudes are driving the pessimism. The Government should admit it is part of the problem and do something about it," Mr English said.

Ends

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