• Winston Peters

Strong increases in consumer confidence in many main provincial areas is a key feature of the latest WestpacTrust Dermott Miller Survey of Consumer Confidence, Treasurer Winston Peters said today.

"The latest survey on consumer confidence is strangely contradictory to previous September surveys on confidence and has already been overtaken by more up to date data.

"However, the survey does highlight some very significant pointers to renewed and continuing optimism:

Of the 11 regions surveyed, all but three in the South Island are above the 100 benchmark, showing more optimists than pessimists.

Whilst regional confidence is mixed, consumer confidence has risen significantly in Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne/Hawkes Bay and Taranaki/Manawatu-Wanganui.

Waikato, which is now the second most confident region, recorded big increases in the expectation of being better off financially this time next year, up a net 16% to 25 per cent.

The Gisborne/Hawkes Bay region recorded the second strongest increase in consumer confidence over the quarter. Again, those expecting to be better off this time next year was up a net 15%.
"It should be borne in mind that the survey period only just included the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Statement which signalled the possibility of further easings in monetary conditions.

Those responding to the survey were also not aware of a raft of recent good economic news including:

a dramatic upsurge in building permits approved
the upwards revision in growth forecasts by the NZIER
the marked increase in business confidence amongst manufacturers
the lowest Consumer Price Index quarterly increase in four and a half years
the lower exchange rate, lower interest rates and good spring weather conditions which are contributing to a more optimistic outlook in the rural sector.
"These results are in stark contrast to the final fiscal years of the last terminal Labour government. The official figures on GDP growth show Labour's inept handling of the economy:

"For the financial years ended 1988, 1989 and 1990 Labour's record on growth reads: ) 0.4%, -0.4% and 0.7%. ," said Mr Peters.