The Government's greatest fear (well I assume it's their greatest fear, and if it isn't it should be) is unfolding before their eyes.

Business confidence is now at a decade-long low. Confidence is not new in a measure of this Government, it's been down since they arrived.

Initially it was dismissed as business not liking Labour governments. Committees were formed, speeches were made, promises were inferred, time was asked for. It's amounted to nothing.


The latest statistics out this week show confidence is at a 10-year low.

Making it worse is the overall figure, and this was the political argument made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about Labour governments, the overall figure used to be different to the personal figure.

In other words you might be a bit negative, but in your personal circumstances you expected to see things generally tick along, if not improve.

That number has now turned ugly, a net four per cent now expect their own circumstances to go backwards. Manufacturing, as a sector, wants to jump off a cliff. The services sector, as we have seen, is slowing alarmingly. That's punters not shopping.

Now, if you want a shred of light, there is the export story which still seems to be ticking over. We are selling record amounts of beef to China, the amount we get overall is up, the amount we get per kilo, or metre, or box is right up there as well.

The tax take is up $2.5 billion - but is that because of the economy, or the fact Treasury couldn't forecast what day it is tomorrow, far less a business return.

Anyway, there's still a bit there to hold off the defibrillators. But I'll tell you this for nothing; no government gets re-elected on a bad economy.

The economists now argue the Reserve Bank will need to cut the Official Cash Rate twice before the end of the year. And that's all very fine and well, but does that mean we borrow more, which is what a cut is designed to do?


I would start to doubt it: interest rates have been so low for so long, I don't think half a point turns an economy or necessarily intent. It doesn't take a bad mood and make it good.

I think we have fundamental issues now that are going to see growth continue to slow. We have 0.6 per cent last quarter. If it drops below that, it'll eventually flush through to give us annual growth below two per cent, what we have now at barely over two per cent is bad enough.

If this lot head to election year with decade-low confidence, a slowing economy, a dropping tax take, a surplus all but spent then you watch the National Party prospects, Simon Bridges or no Bridges, spring to life.

When people start really paying attention and the vote counts, history shows they don't vote for economic wreckers.