Standard and Poor's and Fitch both downgraded New Zealand's sovereign debt a few days ago. The ratings agencies cited increased government spending after the earthquake along with high levels of household and agricultural debt. Fitch also stated that New Zealand's high level of external debt was 'an outlier' among comparable developed nations.
The Standard and Poor's rating was cut from AA+ to AA, however Moody's rating remains unchanged at AAA. New Zealand's debt to GDP ratio has fallen over the past year following government efforts from 86% to 70%, and while most commentators agree that several years ago the country would have escaped attention from the CRAs, the sovereign debt crisis has prompted a more cautious approach.