16 Mar 2012

Consumer confidence falls in March

7:19 am on 16 March 2012

Consumer confidence has fallen this month, but optimism in quake-hit Canterbury is rising.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index shows optimism slightly lower at 110.2 points in March, compared to 113.3 last month.

A reading over 100 shows there are more optimists than pessimists.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says four of the five subgroups that are measured are down, but Canterbury was up eight points to 117.4, the best result since June 2010.

He says there are still challenges with regard to the timing of the Christchurch rebuild.

Greater income generation needed

Mr Bagrie says consumer confidence will only rise if the drivers of income generation are tapped into.

He says New Zealand lived beyond its means for 20 years and how the country prospers will be determined by the extent to which it can restore healthy balance sheets by generating income and whether New Zealand can live within its means.

Mr Bagrie says New Zealand needs to look at what it can do to drive income generation and what will improve job and wage growth.

"The economic model for New Zealand going forward is about earning a buck before we spend a buck", he says.