Let's get a grip and give this Government a chance.

If you focused on business confidence surveys and the angst of a few key commentators you'd think we had a radical Lefty Government unleashing an ideological blitzkrieg on the New Zealand public.

I'm not seeing it.

Over the past seven months I've seen the PM and senior ministers speaking at numerous business events. I've chatted to a few at length.


What I've seen has been unashamedly cautious, pragmatic and entirely focused on evolution rather than revolution.

This isn't an endorsement of the Government or any particular policies. The jury is still out - how could it not be?

I'm just bemused by the persistence of the backlash.

On balance I'd say the performance so far ought to be more worrying to those on the hard left of the political spectrum.

Those hoping for radical and rapid change are likely to be disappointed.

Yes, the Government has moved quickly on two or three bold policies.

The decision to ban offshore oil and gas exploration didn't sit well with many. It seemed arbitrary and rushed.

I suspect it was more strategic than that. A deliberate early marker in the ground to define themselves as young and future-focused.

It was also a payoff for Green Party support – simply a reality of MMP politics.

Regardless, it stands out as an exception rather than the rule.

The thorny issue for most business owners is the change to employment law and lifting of the minimum wage.

Weighting labour laws back in favour of workers is what Labour Governments do – the clue is in the name.

But this isn't a return to the 1970s.

The Employment Contracts Act hasn't been torn up. Union membership is still voluntary. The 90-day rules stay for small business.

I get that business genuinely feels the stress of extra costs but I think a lot of the angst is about uncertainty and a fear that this will be the thin end of the wedge.

The Labour-led coalition will also spend more on social services, education and health – National was promising to do the same thing this term.

And, like National, it is sticking to similar rules around fiscal responsibility – lowering debt ratios and staying in surplus.

It hasn't made any big moves on immigration and Winston Peters – as many suspected – has been far more circumspect in Government than he was in Opposition.

There are few better places to find examples of a Government prioritising pragmatism over ideology than in its foreign policy.

A look at the way the PM and trade Minister David Parker handled themselves at the China Business Summit last week was reassuring.

Both were encouraging about enhancing New Zealand's link with China – noting our biggest trading partner's ongoing support for free-trade and World Trade Organisation rules – its rejection of protectionism.

Yet they carefully avoided any disparaging remarks about current US trade policy.

The PM also dodged questions about China's rising "soft power" in the region and didn't go anywhere near controversial issues like Xi Jinping's increasingly authoritarian regime.

Talking to Parker after last week's event, even his justification for policy moves like the ban on foreign house buyers was highly pragmatic.

He pointed to the populist backlashes in the UK and US that had led to policies now undermining globalisation and free-trade — clearly not what he wants in New Zealand.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson, too, when queried about his personal commitment to fiscal responsibility, talks openly about the need for the Government to carry the public with it.

He is explicitly wary of the speed of change we saw from the Labour Government in 1984 and the impact it had on the lives of the ordinary Kiwi.

Minimum wage rises are clearly part of a left-leaning social equality agenda. Robertson doesn't hide from that but neither does he see them as a fix for New Zealand's economy.

He understands the best way to increase wealth overall is to drive productivity and wants to work with business to do it.

That's going to be tough while confidence remains so low.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley summed up some of the risk of holding on to negativity when he topped his quarterly economic forecasts with a plea to business.

"Despite the genuine concern felt by many, we would like to see more recovery in sentiment soon because New Zealand continues to enjoy some decent economic conditions.

"Positive thinking is key because New Zealand's economic growth is actually expected to gradually accelerate to 3.4 per cent by the end of 2019."

In his first monetary policy statement Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr noted, based on current economic conditions, business should be investing and growing.

He later made it clear he didn't mean that as advice or a personal view. It was simply that in the historical context the economic data "should" be supportive of investment.

New Zealand's economy has being growing for nearly a decade.

Okay, there are issues to resolve. But it would be dangerous to forget what a real downturn looks like and in doing so miss the opportunity of what may well prove to be golden years - regardless of who is in power.