Credit reporting agency Dun and Bradstreet says firms' cashflows are still being squeezed as businesses delay paying their bills.
Latest figures show companies took nearly 46 days to pay their trade accounts during the March quarter.
That compares to 44 days in December quarter, and is two weeks more the standard 30 day payment term.
Dun and Bradstreet New Zealand general manager John Scott says the figures show the nation is still battling to emerge from the global financial crisis and the spate of natural disasters which have affected the economy.
Although terms have improved markedly since the peak of almost 52 days in 2001, they are nowhere near 2004 levels, when average payment terms fell to below 41 days.
Public administration, communications, electricity, gas and manufacturing firms were the worst offenders in the quarter.
Mining, forestry, agriculture, transport, finance, insurance and real estate companies were the fastest payers.