6 Mar 2015

NZ must not be 'complacent' over AAA - Labour

3:00 pm on 6 March 2015

The Labour Party says New Zealand may have retained its credit rating but it's no time to be popping the champagne.

Moody's Investors has reaffirmed New Zealand's AAA credit rating with a stable outlook.

The credit rating agency had also assessed New Zealand's fiscal strength as very high.

Finance Minister Bill English said that rating was a further endorsement of the Government's responsible economic and fiscal programme.

Mr English said Moody's notes New Zealand's economy was growing relatively strongly, despite a steep fall in dairy prices during 2014.

He said Moody's assessment reflected a debt burden that was lower than the median for AAA rated countries, along with the prospect of a return to budget surplus.

New Zealand was one of only 14 countries with the top AAA rating and a stable outlook with Moody's.

Labour finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said the Government could not afford to be complacent and must concentrate on diversifying the economy.

"What Moody's are signalling here though is that we need to be very cautious about what might happen in the future if the current account deficit worsens and if we don't start to grow the economy through exports and paying our way in the world."

Mr Robertson said if New Zealand's rating had dipped it would be cause for very serious concern.