The pace of decline in the services sector increased in January.
The Bank of New Zealand - Business New Zealand Performance of Services Index fell nine points from January last year to 42.7.
A reading below 50 indicates the sector is generally contracting.
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says the contraction in the sector last year was fairly moderate, but became severe in January.
He says forward indications, such as employment expectations and forward orders, are particularly low - suggesting that worse may lie ahead for the sector.