4 Apr 2014

Small business confidence rising

7:05 pm on 4 April 2014

Confidence is at its highest level in 15 years in the latest ANZ survey of small businesses. It's also the sixth consecutive quarter that confidence has risen.

Small businesses are seen as a good indicator of the country's mood because they make up nine out of every ten firms.

They also employ almost a third of New Zealand's workers.

The service sector tops the survey, but the bank says sentiment is also up in retail, construction and agriculture.

ANZ is pinning the record confidence on the Canterbury rebuild and business coming out of a tough five years.

Retail and business banking managing director Fred Ohlsson said it's a groundswell of optimism.

He said hiring intentions are stronger across small businesses - with a third expecting better profits.

Mr Ohlsson says it's not a spike, or a one-off blip.

"These are confidence levels and activity levels that we will see for quite a while," he says. "It (the confidence level) has risen slowly, and over time - this is not a one-quarter wonder".