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CORONAVIRUS - The situation in New Zealand

1. General situation

New CORONAVIRUS approach in New Zealand

Friday 3 December, marks a shift into a new way of managing COVID-19. The COVID Protection Framework AKA the traffic light system.

New Zealand’s approach to COVID control changes from a Level 1-2-3 national approach, to a Regional Traffic Light concept that differentiates between fully vaccinated people with a Vaccine Pass, the official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status for use in Aotearoa New Zealand (digital or paper) and those without vaccination. 

Vaccinated New Zealanders can now enjoy many more freedoms, the level depending whether the region is ‘red’(the Auckland region and some other north island regions or ‘orange’ the other regions on the north island and all of the south island.

With traffic light settings now in place, there are three key things at every colour setting:   Mask, Scan, Pass:

  • Take a face-covering when you leave the house and be ready to wear it
  • Scan in wherever you go
  • Download a Vaccine Pass and have it ready, so you can go to all your favourite places

You will need to use your My Vaccine Pass to go to certain places. This is an official record of your COVID-19 vaccination status, and you can only get it after you’ve had your second dose.

After nearly four months, Aucklanders have emerged from lockdown as the country enters the new traffic light system. 

Travel to New Zealand

New Zealand will be opening to fully vaccinated foreign nationals — staged from 30 April 2022 onwards. Until such time, controls at the borders remain for those entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and mandatory 14 day managed quarantine or isolation.

The  government deals with exceptions regarding entrance into New Zealand for either humanitarian or economic/business reasons on a case per case basis. Ports are open and shipments processed albeit with some delay and or restricted capacities.
Internal courier services’ backlogs will soon be cleared.

2. Exit strategy

See above.

3. Economy

a. Economic impact

Faster than Expected Growth in GDP

As per the latest GDP figures from Statistics NZ, New Zealand has successfully avoided a second pandemic recession.

New Zealand’s economy grew by 2.8 percent in the 2nd quarter to June 2021, after a 1.4 percent expansion in Q1 and beating expectations of a 1.3 percent rise. Growth was led by the services industries (2.8 percent vs 1.1 percent in Q1); and both the primary (5 percent vs 1.2 percent) and goods-producing industries (1.3 percent vs 1.7 percent) also contributed to growth in the quarter. Retail trade and accommodation was the largest contributor to GDP growth in the June 2021 quarter, driven by higher activity in accommodation and food services. Exports of services rose by 63 percent driven by exports of travel services, transport services, other business services, and also film exports. However, exports of services remain significantly affected by international travel restrictions due to COVID-19 and are still 43.0 percent below the levels of the December 2019 quarter.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Economic growth back to its pre-pandemic levels

Despite the tourism sector still being critically down by the lack of overseas tourism, and hospitality having suffered seriously under lockdowns, most sectors in the economy indicate a strong performance post-COVID.

Bounce Back in Consumer Confidence

The latest survey has revealed that New Zealand’s consumer confidence has recovered most of the drop from 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown. The Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index surged to 107.1 points in the June quarter from 105.2 points in the previous quarter. Although June quarter’s consumer confidence level was a little below its long-run average, it has been trending higher in recent months.

The survey also showed that households feel more optimistic about the outlook of the country’s economy over the coming year.

COVID data portal by NZSTATS:

Reports on economic, environmental, and social aspects of COVID-19’s impact on New Zealand and its recovery. A collaborative approach featuring more than 40 key economic indicators across several measures, from trade data and consumer spending, to measures of business and consumer confidence.

b. Trade barriers

Botst u buiten de EU op handelsbelemmeringen of andere problemen op het vlak van markttoegang? Laat het ons weten via handelsbelemmering@fitagency.be. Wij analyseren uw aangifte en maken die via de geijkte kanalen over aan de bevoegde instanties.

c. Measures for economic relaunch

An elaborate package is on offer since lockdown and constantly tuned, tax facilitation, wage subsidies for both smallest and large organisations, etc. - https://www.beehive.govt.nz/feature/covid-19-economic-response-package  

The government has brought in the banking sector in its appeal to unite in the support to the economy and New Zealanders (mortgage holidays, tax & fee breaks, active scanning for support needs amongst customers).

Food production and export, agri-business in general and were the first sectors to drive economic bounce back.

Construction and infrastructure works were amongst the first sectors to restart around the country, aided by substantial investments by the government. The sector’s limits are the availability of manpower and materials, both suffering from post-covid bottlenecks.

d. Short term opportunities

With the economy now fully opening up and considering the government support for wages, tax relief, mortgage holidays etc, Flemish exporters should find the original New Zealand market functioning again as expected and all major channels-to-market to function as before, albeit with some reduction in throughflow and consumption, often outcomes of the physical distancing.

With foodservices now fully resuming, we expect the demand for F&B from Flanders to pick up substantially in the coming weeks.

Sectors as F&B, agri-tech, technology, medical devices and cleantech are expected to make a relatively fast recovery. Special mention for pharma & medical devices, both import needs and local industry growth in view of reducing overseas dependency. ICT solutions expected to do well because of the crisis, including in New Zealand as digital technology is expected to remedy a lot of the challenges.

4. Useful links

5. Dossier Coronavirus

Het coronavirus heeft een wereldwijde impact, niet alleen op de gezondheid maar ook op de economie. Ook uw export kan hiervan gevolgen of zelfs hinder ondervinden.

FIT monitort de risico's dagelijks en ons buitenlands netwerk informeert u over alle implicaties voor Vlaamse exporteurs op hun internationale activiteiten.

In het dossier Coronavirus vindt u een aantal nuttige tips, adviezen en inzichten in de economische impact van de verspreiding van het virus op internationaal ondernemen.

Met vragen over internationaal ondernemen in tijden van Corona, kan u terecht bij exportadvies-corona@fitagency.be.

9 december 2021