13 Dec 2008

Global financial crisis hitting NZ economy says report

8:14 pm on 13 December 2008

A report by the New Zealand Institute suggests the global financial crisis is already having a major impact on the New Zealand economy.

Titled The End of the Golden Weather, the report is the first of six the institute plans to issue in the coming months.

It says the current recession will be protracted and the recovery will be weak and subdued. It suggests a global recession could be the largest since World War 2.

For New Zealand this will mean a reversal in the commodity boom, difficulties in attracting foreign investment and problems financing overseas debt.

Two economists have mixed views on the findings.

The editor of the financial website www.interest.co.nz, Bernard Hickey, says he agrees with the report's findings.

"It concludes that we're in for a tough time, for a long time, possibly up to a decade of slow to little growth," he said.

But the managing director of the economic consulting service Infometrics, Gareth Kiernan, has doubts about the report.

He said pressures around household debt levels have been countered by the stimulus from monetary and fiscal authorities, and he's confident things will pick up.

And the Council of Trade Unions says the report paints an alarmist picture.

The council's economist Peter Conway says there could be difficulties attracting foreign investment, but the government has signalled it will borrow money for infrastructure projects.