VoiceOver users please use the tab key when navigating expanded menus

Business and the Economic Impacts of COVID-19

As Auckland emerges from Alert Level 3 how are businesses and our economy faring?


In this webinar ANZ’s Chief Economist Sharon Zollner and Managing Director, Commercial & Agri, Mark Hiddleston discuss the economic outlook and how businesses can navigate the path ahead.



Here are five key insights from the webinar:




Retail spending bounced back after New Zealand came out of the Level 4 lockdown. But Sharon Zollner warns it’d be wrong to think it’s all over. That surge in spending could be a one-off from pent-up demand.


When the current wage subsidies end unemployment is likely to spike, especially in the tourism, retail and hospitality sectors. Those sectors are all big employers.


That could have a flow-on effect to house prices. Queenstown and Rotorua are the regions with the highest uptake of the mortgage repayment deferral scheme. That’s a sign of the pressure the tourism sector is under.




We can keep eliminating Covid-19 as required and we’re getting better at it, but we can’t be complacent. Masks, social distancing and testing will be important to avoid another lockdown.


Global food prices have been strong; helped by supply and production disruptions internationally, and floods and locust plagues in China. While bad news for the world, it’s good news for an export nation like New Zealand.


However, the tourism sector are taking a big hit from the border restrictions. The border restrictions are the right thing to do for both public health and the economy, but come at an economic cost that will be felt much more intensely over summer.


The New Zealand dollar is strong because the US dollar is out of favour and our commodity prices are proving resilient. However, the strong NZ dollar is tough on exporters and therefore of concern to the Reserve Bank, making lower interest rates more likely.




Many businesses are reassessing their strategic plans based on the disruption and uncertainty caused by Covid-19.


Mark Hiddleston says many customers are not only creating new plans, but are executing on them at pace.


ANZ are having to do this too. The bank had a long-term plan for Contact Centre staff to be able to work at home, right across the country. Covid-19 meant that a three-year plan was reviewed, redesigned and implemented in a couple of weeks.


That was possible because the plan was already in the works.




Implementing a new strategic plan can require extra capital.


Changes have recently been made to the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, making support available to more business customers.


The cap on loans has been increased from $500,000 to $5 million, with the repayment period extended to 5 years. Eligible businesses will now be able to use the loan for capital assets and projects to help them recover from the impacts of Covid-19.


ANZ can help explain to explain to customers what assistance is available and whether they are eligible. It is really important that customers contact their bank as soon as they find things are getting tough.




Boards, executive teams and business leaders need to recognise the pressure some employees are under.


For many, they have been working intensively for months; and the uncertainty of Covid-19 is starting to have an impact.


There is a risk of staff feeling burnt out or isolated, particularly with many working remotely. It’s easy to work very long hours, with few breaks. There’s a temptation to send and answer emails late into the night. That can be sustainable for short periods. But not long term.


Thinking differently about how you look out for staff is important but it adds another challenge for business owners as they navigate through Covid-19.


Renewed COVID restrictions set to hamper recovery

Renewed Alert Level restrictions are going to weigh on activity, prolong the current bout of data volatility, push out the recovery in economic momentum, and keep the dial on monetary and fiscal stimulus turned up to eleven for even longer.

Covid sinks small firms’ confidence

Small firms’ confidence plunged in the June quarter with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on sentiment, although early indicators suggest September quarter confidence started on a more positive footing.

Thriving through lockdown – towards a sustainable future

Facing a worldwide health and economic crisis consumers are now putting renewed emphasis on their health and ensuring the food they eat is authentic, natural and is produced sustainably.