The high currency, lower dairy and forestry prices, and a levelling in the property market are also being cited as economic downers.
A net 43 per cent of respondents in the ANZ Bank Business Outlook survey for June expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, down from 54 per cent in May’s survey.
Those expecting a better 12 months out of their own businesses fell to 46 per cent from 51 per cent, the lowest in nine months but still well above the long-run average.
“It’s important to remember that this decline in confidence has been desired – and at least partly engineered – by the Reserve Bank,” Cameron Bagrie, chief economist at ANZ Bank New Zealand, said on Monday.
“The level of confidence remains very high by historical standards, but is now starting to look a little more realistic.”
A net 24 per cent of companies plan to take on more workers in the next year, well down from the peak of 32 per cent in February but above the 10-year average of five per cent.
Expected profitability has now fallen for four consecutive months, but the falls are getting smaller. A net 29 per cent of firms expect higher profits.
Export intentions at 20 per cent are their lowest in a year.
New Zealand’s trade-weighted currency index hit a record high on Friday and the kiwi touched a three-year high against the greenback.