The Reserve Bank's latest call suggests interest rates could be staying low for a long time, or even falling further.
But while that should be good news for borrowers, actually getting a loan could be more difficult in the new environment, says independent economist Cameron Bagrie.
"I think the biggest game in town is lending appetites," he told the Economy Hub video show. "What we're seeing across some surveys is that credit is becoming more difficult to obtain."
There were two key factors at play in tightening of credit, he said.
One was simply that we were late in the economic cycle, with residential property prices in decline across the Tasman and in Auckland.
There were also a few issues in the dairy sector with debt and farm valuations so banks were naturally taking a cautious approach.
On top of that the banking sector was having to respond to "headwinds" coming from regulators, both here and across the Tasman where they have a been under intense scrutiny with the Royal Inquiry.
"Welcome to the new normal."
With bank balance sheets sitting at around $450 billion worth of lending even a slight shift in attitude could have big ramifications for the economy, Bagrie said.
New Zealand had total debt up around 150 per cent of GDP and did need to get its balance sheet under control.
"We've leveraged up the balance sheet, we've ridden that credit accelerator model. That model's not going to be a big driver of growth going forward."
One of the big concerns was that it was not obvious what the alternative driver of growth would be over the coming year or two.
Bagrie said he expected we will have to get used to GDP growth at closer to two per cent than three for the next few years.
The good news was that New Zealand's economy still looked pretty robust, Bagrie said.
But we remain vulnerable to global shocks.
While there has been growing concern about the latest sharemarket rally and the risk of an equities crash Bagrie said he was more worried about another credit crisis.
The likelihood of some kind of "credit event" was growing, he said. It was not clear where the epicenter of that would be but he was watching places like Australia and China closely.