First, the bad news.

New Zealand's debt mountain is still growing.

The big, scary grand total — $571.04 billion in gross debt, or $115,000 a head — is about 16 per cent higher than it was three years ago when the Business Herald started tallying it.

The good news is that the rate of growth has slowed.


But despite both major political parties committing to lower public debt, and even a slowing housing market, debt still rises by billions every year. "It's not catastrophic," says independent economist Cameron Bagrie.

"But it is a point of vulnerability. It's high." And unfortunately,


By the numbers