2 Feb 2012

Minister senses 'glimmer of hope' at Davos

7:23 am on 2 February 2012

New Zealand's representative at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski town of Davos says he sensed a glimmer of hope through the snow clouds.

Trade Minister Tim Groser returned from the annual gathering of the world's financial heavyweights on Wednesday.

Mr Groser says the forum focused on the state of the global economy and the future of the euro, and while he feels the situation is becoming far less fraught, it's too early to put the champagne on ice.

He says the feeling was best summed up by a comment from a bank chief executive who said that six months ago they were terrified and they are now merely nervous.

Mr Groser says Greece, Italy and Spain are not out of the woods yet but there's an enormous political commitment to do whatever is necessary.

"The possibility of collapse, I suppose, is still there, but the sense that I got from deeply well informed people who are personally and deeply involved through their institutions is they're going to get through this come what may", he says.

Mr Groser says the sense at one of the meeting's he attended was that it was necessary to get the message out to the public about how bad things are and secondly that an austerity package is unavoidable.

But he says the public must feel there is burden sharing as governments cut massively into that debt.