Consumer confidence has fallen sharply as households worry about the global outlook
The Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index fell 11 points to 101 in the three months to December.
A result above 100 indicates there are more optimists than pessimists.
December's result is the lowest since immediately after the February earthquake and, before that, early 2009.
Overall, 22% of respondents expect bad times ahead for New Zealand in the coming year, compared with 2% in September.
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens told Evening Business on Checkpoint households have become a lot more concerned about the economic outlook.
"People are now telling us, whereas previously they were fairly sanguine, they're now concerned about this news coming out of Europe I think."
He says there is now an appreciation among consumers that it may eventually hit New Zealand.
Mr Stephens says such a pronounced drop in confidence signals consumer spending may fall early next year.
The survey polled more than 1,500 respondents during the first eleven days of December, and has a margin of error of 2.5 percent.