Standard and Poor’s decision to affirm the AA foreign currency and AA+ local currency sovereign credit ratings with a stable outlook for New Zealand reflects international confidence in New Zealand’s economic and fiscal performance, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says.

“The assessment released by S & P today confirms the increasing resilience of New Zealand’s economy as we head into 2017. The Government’s careful economic management is seeing continued improvement across a range of economic measures,” Mr Joyce says.

“S & P noted an improved outlook for New Zealand’s current account deficit and an improving forecast for our net government debt.”

“The agency also noted their expectations that New Zealand’s fiscal performance will continue to improve over the medium term – and that remains the Government’s clear intention.”

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Survey released earlier today also shows New Zealanders are increasingly optimistic about the state of the labour market with employment confidence at its highest level in eight years.

“Strong employment confidence together with the positive recent survey of quarterly business opinion directly link back to the strength of New Zealand’s economic management,” Mr Joyce says.

“By operating sensible conservative economic policy, the government is giving businesses the confidence to invest and grow, creating more jobs for Kiwis and their families.

“There remains significant uncertainty about the world economy in the year ahead.  However New Zealanders can take confidence that our country is well placed to deal with any issues as they arise.”

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