The latest NZ Business Outlook has dropped to levels not seen since the global financial crisis, but Jacinda Ardern says the majority of businesses are "still pretty positive."

The Prime Minister spoke to The Country's Rowena Duncum about New Zealand's business confidence and how the report needs to be examined closely before it becomes a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Perception can become reality," says Ardern, "I've certainly sought a bit more information about what's happening in these surveys. I know that when you look at businesses when they're asked the question about their own activity the majority is still pretty positive."

Listen below:

However, Ardern admits that when businesses look to the future, confidence begins to waver, saying "that's where we've seen those markers for concern."

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Ardern says if New Zealand continues to pursue its trade agenda on the global market, it will be "particularly good for our farming community, by making sure that we're not too reliant on one trading partner."

Also in today's interview: Jacinda Ardern discusses the nurses' and teachers' strikes, employment law reform and free speech versus hate speech.