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CORONAVIRUS - The situation in New Zealand

1. General situation

New Zealand is now at Alert Level 1 as of September 2020: all restrictions lifted but for the border controls for travellers (excluding goods/cargo).

At Alert Level 1, everyone can return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want.

New Zealand has joined the small group of nations now recording no  NZ community cases of covid-19, covid cases are at the border and stem from incoming visitors, often New Zealanders returning home and/or professionals servicing NZ economic activities and logistics/transport.. The only remaining covid 19-related restrictions are at the border.

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 soon to be cleared.

2. Exit strategy

See above.

3. Economy

a. Economic impact

Amid fears of a global recession, New Zealand officials fear almost every sector to be seriously hit, certainly tourism, hospitality and aviation/transport.

New Zealand's economy is likely to suffer a bigger coronavirus blow than most in the OECD, new research says.

The OECD has put out a new report evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on economic activity. It does not take into account Government stimulus in those countries.

It said the initial direct effect of shutdowns could be a decline of between 1/5th and 1/4 in most economies as spending dropped by about a third.

"Changes of this magnitude would far outweigh anything experienced during the global financial crisis in 2008-09. This broad estimate only covers the initial direct impact in the sectors involved and does not take into account any additional indirect impacts that may arise."

New Zealand would see an initial drop of almost 30% in activity, the OECD said, compared to about 15% in Ireland, 22% in Australia and 25% in the United States.

The implications for annual GDP growth would depend on the magnitude and duration of national shutdowns, and the extent of reduced demand, the OECD said.

"The scale of the estimated decline in the level of output is such that it is equivalent to a decline in annual GDP growth of up to two percentage points for each month that strict containment measures continue. If the shutdown continued for three months, with no offsetting factors, annual GDP growth could be between 4-6 percentage points lower than it otherwise might have been."

The economic impact is to be significant but very possibly better than OECD expectations as the report did not take into account the efforts being made to mitigate it, such as the Government's wage subsidy. 

Performance could be below OECD average as New Zealand has greater reliance on tourism (largest industry prior Coronavirus).

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).

d. Economic outlook

Food production and export is slowly picking up again and could be first sectors to drive economic bounce back.

Construction and infrastructure works will be amongst the first sectors to restart around the country.

e. Short term opportunities

With the economy now full opening up and considering the government support for wages, tax relief, mortgage holidays etc, Flemish exporters should find the original New Zealand markets 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/agritech/technology/med devices/cleantech expected to make a relatively fast recovery with most markets to be continuous.

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 from the crisis, including in New Zealand as digital is expected to remedy a lot of the challenges.

f. Long term opportunities

Aviation/tourism/hospitality are expected to experience a long term recovery with the loss of many businesses as it may be many months before international visitors, tourist, conference visitors, etc., will be confident to travel again.

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.

11 december 2020