Business confidence has edged up, but firms are not feeling as optimistic about their own prospects.
The monthly National Bank Business Confidence survey found a net 36% of firms expect better times ahead for the economy in the next year, up two points from March.
However firms' perceptions about their own prospects slipped 3 points to 36.
National Bank's chief economist Cameron Bagrie says firms' own perceptions about growth still remain reasonably strong by historical standards, but the big question is whether expectations will be matched by reality.
"Certainly expectations coming from these sorts of surveys have been pretty robust for a while now, but I guess if you get out there on the ground and talk to people in terms of what's going on, we've still got a very grumpy economy."