Building consents have fallen to their lowest level in a year, which is attributed to a quiet housing market and cautious households.
Figures from Statistics New Zealand show the number of new building consents issued fell by a seasonally-adjusted 18% in August, compared to the previous month.
Radio new Zealand's economics correspondent says it's the biggest fall since a drop of 22% in October 2008, when the American bank Lehman Brothers collapsed.
After apartment numbers are stripped out, housing consents fell by 8.9% to 1193.
New Zealand economist for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Chris Tennant Brown, says consent numbers have been particularly weak in the last two months and have fallen by more than expected.
The value of consents for residential buildings rose 8% to $473 million.
In contrast, the value of non-residential buildings slumped 23% to $296 million.