News that the indebtedness of New Zealand households has reached new highs provides food for thought and prompts a certain amount of head scratching. There’s a kind of interesting sub-story here. ANZ economists in a recent newsletter drew attention to the new figures, and said they were “not sure we like the end game”. They were commenting on the basis of Reserve Bank household figures that showed the household debt to income ratio hitting a new high of 167%. These comments from the ANZ economists seemingly attracted the attention of the RBNZ itself, whose figures were the centre of attention. Curiously, in having another look at their own figures, the RBNZ have now discovered an error “that occurred when incorporating the annual disposable income benchmarks to the quarterly household income series. We inadvertently did not apply the correct annual benchmarks, which are sourced from Statistics NZ”. The new figures (which can be seen in the first graph below and a comparison with the earlier incorrect figures) show that the debt to income ratio was in fact 162% in December – but the sharply upward trend portrayed in the earlier version of the f...