Business confidence remains weak, with investment intentions falling further this month. In addition workers are less confident about their pay and job security – the latest signs that the Government’s policies are hurting the economy, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“The Government may be happy looking in the rear-vision mirror at second-quarter GDP as a sign that things are not as bad as was feared but real-time indicators show what’s really happening.

“Both consumers and businesses are markedly less optimistic. Business confidence and the important own-activity measure remain at levels not seen since 2009. At the same time cost of living and firms’ pricing intentions continue to rise.

“This impacts everything from investment and hiring workers to major household purchases. The Government should acknowledge the harm it is doing rather than trumpet its performance with carefully edited claims about the economy.

“While last week’s headline GDP numbers weren’t as bad as the Reserve Bank had predicted, GDP per capita was just 0.7 per cent for the year. This is significantly below the 1.6 per cent per capita New Zealand has averaged since 2012. GDP per hours worked, a critical productivity measure, actually fell 0.7 per cent in the June quarter and has fallen in each of the last two quarters.

“The June quarter numbers don’t pick up the numerous signs over recent months that the economy is softening further. Real-time measures such as business and consumer confidence suggest there are still real challenges facing our economy now.

“Instead of giving New Zealanders an air-brushed account of its performance, the Government should acknowledge where it has gone wrong and focus on policies that actually help the economy to grow.”

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