New Zealand’s consumers are regaining confidence, the latest Nielsen’s online survey has revealed. In the third quarter of 2016, the consumer index reached the highest score since Q1 2015, with a five-point increase from Q2 2016 and a seven-point increase from Q3 2015. All three drivers of sentiment—job prospects, personal finances and good time to buy things—increased.

Immediate spending intentions of Kiwis have increased, rising from a 39 percent from Q2 2016 to a high of 48 percent. Additionally, 54 percent of respondents believed the job market would be good or excellent in the upcoming year, a quarterly increase of eight points.

“Improved rural conditions will be playing a part in the more positive outlook,” said Nick Tuffley, chief economist, ASB Bank. “Dairy prices began recovering substantially over the survey period. Meanwhile, fruit exports have performed well, particularly kiwifruit, and tourism is boosting growth around the country. Consumer inflation is low and interest rates are set to remain very low for a long time, conditions that are clearly encouraging stronger retail spending.”

Twenty-nine percent of NZ farmers and growers plan to invest in farm machinery and equipment, 28 percent in insurance, 24 percent in IT/technology.