A farmers' lobby group has questioned the results of a survey that shows the largest lift in business confidence that Northland has seen in the past decade.
But the Chamber of Commerce wants the nay-sayers to take part in the survey if they feel it's inaccurate.
The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce Northland business confidence survey for the November to February quarter revealed a staggering 19 per cent spike in positivity - up from 29 per cent to 48 per cent- but the Farmers of New Zealand are sceptical.
"Simply I don't believe it [the results]," said Ian Walker, president of Farmers of New Zealand. "Retailers are a good measure of business confidence and, while January was very poor and February a bit better, overall business has been flat."
The chamber sent surveys to about 2000 members from Northland to Taupo, excluding Auckland, and up to 200 responded.
In August last year, only 30 per cent of businesses felt confident in Northland's economy, and the figure decreased slightly to 29 per cent in November, before a big leap of 48 per cent this month.
However, those that felt business confidence would stay the same fell from 53 per cent last November to 46 per cent in February.
Five per cent believed the situation would worsen - down from 18 per cent in November and 14 per cent in August.
Business owners also had a positive view of the economy over the next six months, with more than 60 per cent expecting it to improve, compared with 47 per cent last November and 49 per cent in August.
"A rising concern for those looking to expand their businesses is the fact that 25 per cent of those surveyed are having difficulty finding the right people with the right skills," chamber chief executive for Northland Tony Collins said.
He suggested the skills' shortage would stifle growth and said every effort should be made to invest in training. Businesses should alert the chamber of any skills shortages, so it could work with government agencies.
Mr Collins said the survey found an increase in employment expectations, hours to be worked and profit expectations.
"I believe the continued good fortunes of the agriculture sector have helped people's confidence," Mr Collins said.
He defended the results, saying pessimists could participate by filling out quarterly survey forms. He said the survey results mirrored positive feedback from Whangarei after Christmas.