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Confidence In Economy Down Despite End Of Recession

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Bill English
Bill English

Wellington, Feb 21 NZPA - New Zealand has come out of recession but confidence that the economy will get better over the next 12 months is slightly down compared to November, a new poll out tonight shows.

The TV One Colmar Brunton poll found 59 percent were optimistic about the economy -- but in the same poll in November more people -- 68 percent -- thought things were looking up.

Those who thought the economy would not change much increased by 2 points to 18 percent while those who thought things would get worse increased by 7 points to 23 percent.

Both TV One and 3 News had polls tonight showing the Government retain its popularity with little gain for the Labour Party.

Labour finance spokesman David Cunliffe said it was concerning that confidence was going backwards while the economy was improving.

"The reality is the lack of an economic vision from the National Government is causing increasing concern amongst New Zealanders," he said.

Finance Minister Bill English told TVNZ's Question and Answer programme that the country was on the road to recovery but the ride could be "a bit bumpy".

"I think confidence levels had got almost unreasonably high in the latter half of last year, just a sense of relief that the financial crisis didn't turn into something really bad here in New Zealand, and now we're getting a dose of reality, people can see you know the housing market hasn't really taken off, there's still job insecurity around and that's why we've got to focus pretty strongly on policy that's going to help to broaden the base of the recovery."

Mr English believed the economy would improve. Asked whether he thought unemployment would go higher than 7.3 percent after previously predicting 7 percent was the maximum Mr English said he hoped it would not go higher.

He said unemployment was higher because of more people entering the job market rather than loss of work.

The Government was doing things that would create jobs including infrastructure projects and schemes to train young people; "in the end the long term policy is what's going to matter for creating sustainable jobs rather than just buying them short term".

The TVNZ poll of 1000 adults also asked about support for political parties. It showed support for the large parties largely unchanged -- National was up 1 point to 54 percent, and Labour up 3 to 34 percent. However smaller parties took a bit of a hit; the Greens dropped from 7 percent to 4.7 percent; The Maori Party went from 3.4 percent to 2 and ACT was down to 1.7 from 2.2. United Future dropped off the rating altogether while the Progressives hung on with 0.4 percent support.

In the preferred Prime Minister stakes John Key lost some ground down 5 points to 49 percent support while Labour leader Phil Goff improved up to 8 percent from 5 in November.

The poll was conducted between February 13 and 17 and had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

The TV3 Reid Research poll put support for the Government up 1.1 points to 56.3 percent with Labour down 1.2 points to 29.6 percent. The Greens lost less support than in the TVNZ poll down half a point to 7.3 percent, the Maori Party was up to 2.4 percent.

Mr Key scored 49.4 percent in the preferred PM question while Mr Goff went up 0.2 points to score 8.2 percent.

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