It's 30 years ago today that global markets melted down bringing New Zealand's economy to its knees.

Black Monday October 19 1987 (Black Tuesday October 20 in NZ) saw the largest single day crash in Wall Street's history - 22 per cent.

In New Zealand the single day fall was less severe but the slump rolled on for months eventually taking markets down almost 60 per cent.

The social fallout, coming in the midst of major economic reforms, was severe and the country slid into recession.


It has been sobering to remember the events of October 1987 for the Business Herald's week-long series.

It's also been interesting to watch both Wall Street and the local NZX market hit record highs every day in the past week as one of the longest bull runs in our history rolls on.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index has now risen 10 per cent in the past three months. It is up more than 230 per cent since it bottomed out after the GFC in 2009.

But that does not mean we are in a similar scenario to 30 years ago, Craigs Investment Partners' Mark Lister told the Economy Hub video show today.

"It's a very, very different market today," Lister said. "For a start when you look at the companies on the board today, these are real businesses that are doing real things and growing."

But even when you looked at the rapid growth in the market, it was not the same story, Lister said.

In the last five years the New Zealand market had doubled, he said. While that was a great run it was quite different to doubling over 10 or 12 months as the market did in 1986 and 1987.

"We're certainly not in that same sort of territory as we were back then."


There was also the improved regulation, quality of management and better sharing of information in the market, said Employers and Manufacturers chief executive Kim Campbell.

Campbell recalled working for local manufacturer Masport at the time, which had just been bought by Brierley Investments.

"We had Brieleys ... and also Rainbow Corporation on the share register. So we had large chunks of our shareholding fighting each other. And that was being repeated all over town," he said. "So with all of the mergers and so on everything was for sale."

Campbell agreed that the market now was not behaving like 1987.

"When there is a correction, which inevitably occurs, it will come from some place that we didn't really expect,"

Another correction was inevitable, because markets did not go up in straight lines, Lister said.

"But it is really hard to see the wheels falling off in a big way when you've got all of the major economies in the world growing now."