The Northland Chamber of Commerce says Northland is not in recession, but is rather having a long, flat economic slowdown.
It says businesses in the region are more upbeat about their prospects than their Auckland counterparts.
Forty percent of Northland businesses believe things will improve for them over the next six months, compared with just 32% in bigger cities.
The Chamber says businesses have prepared themselves for a medium-length period of flat to no growth.
Ian Walker, who owns the Paper Plus bookshop in Kaitaia, says in his district, recession is almost the default setting for the local economy, and it holds few shocks.