Almost 50,000 New Zealanders have lost their jobs and the country’s regions have taken a massive hit following the first Covid-19 lockdown.
The latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor has analysed the country’s regional economic changes so far during the pandemic, identifying one region that has suffered the most.
Otago’s economy has been hit the hardest out of anywhere else in New Zealand, seeing a 15.6 per cent per annum drop impacted by the tourism fallout.
Infometrics economist Brad Olsen says "things are pretty hard" for Otago. But he says that’s what happens “when you put the country on life support".
“The structure of local economies is key to deciphering how the economic hit will reverberate throughout the New Zealand economy,” says Mr Olsen.
“Those local economies with a strong tourism focus have seen a deeper hit to activity, and those with a greater economic focus on international tourism will feel the prolonged effects of the downturn.”
Job losses across the country have also mounted, with over 50,000 additional people on a Jobseeker Support benefit or Covid-19 Income Relief Payment by the end of June, according to Infometrics.
That takes the total jobless support number to over 200,000. Infometrics expects job losses to continue mounting as the economy adjusts.
Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana of local tourism group Dunedin Host says people are their livelihoods.
She says after the first wave of Covid-19 many businesses began to bounce back, but the second has had a big impact.
“It’s getting too hard for people to look forward, with no forward bookings.
“It hurts my heart when I hear some of our members tell us some of the stories that they have.”
Though regional economies have taken a battering from the pandemic, Mr Olsen says local leaders, businesses and communities have shown "incredible resilience" to get their local areas moving ahead.
"Rapid deployment of support, and strong local coordination, has meant that regional economies have responded immediately to get the economy moving again, with a focus on building the economy back better.”