A survey of mid-size businesses has revealed a big jump in optimism from last year.
Two-thirds of the 200 privately held New Zealand businesses that took part in the International Business Report Survey were optimistic about the coming year.
This time last year, more than half of those surveyed by accountancy firm Grant Thornton were pessimistic.
Grant Thornton director Peter Sherwin says New Zealand businesses have also climbed to seventh most optimistic out of 36 countries surveyed - a significant shift from 2009 when New Zealand ranked in the bottom third.
Mr Sherwin says the survey results are encouraging and businesses which have become more efficient during the recession will reap the rewards of the upturn.
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says he is not surprised firms are feeling more confident than they were 12 months ago and similar recent surveys have also shown an uplift.
Mr O'Reilly says increased business confidence is good for New Zealand, as companies are more likely to hire and invest.
Many local businesses will also be feeling more optimistic because they have not been affected as badly by the recession as those in the United States and Europe, he believes.