Auckland lockdown set to wipe out $70m over three days in major blow to economy

Hurting Auckland businesses are crying out for more support as Auckland entered Level 3 lockdown at midday today, with the supercity expected to lose $70 million in the next three days alone.  

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Closed signs came back out in Auckland at midday today with the region returning to Level 3. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after four new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were announced in the community at a press conference last night. 

Roads were congested and shops were packed as Aucklanders prepared for the Level 3 lockdown restrictions, which came into effect at noon today. The lockdown is so far expected to last for three days, ending at midnight Friday.  

Bakery owner Saram Ros told 1 NEWS he felt “a little bit shocked and disappointed” the business was forced to close for the second time amid the lockdown restrictions.

The New Zealand economy had been tracking along well before the most recent blow.

“Members are telling me that they have had over $100,000 walk out of their business up until midday today and they're expecting more to come,” Hospitality New Zealand’s Julie White said.

Maggie Potter's Louise Anderson said she feels like the Government "has really let us down".

"I feel really disappointed, businesses were just starting to get back on track again and this has happened. Now I just don't know if we'll be able to keep going through this.”

Businesses large and small are bracing for more pain.

“Like any prudent business, we've always got the ability to deal with some things that are off piste - we'll handle that then reassess,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said.

Auckland operating under Level 3 for just three days is expected to wipe out up to $70 million from the economy.

Infometrics economist Brad Olsen said people will be “really concerned about what’s coming next”.

“I think what this does is it really puts pay to the idea that New Zealand is out of the woods,” Mr Olsen said.

Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr has since warned the global economic outlook remains weak.

Mr Orr today announced the official cash rate will remain as is, but will boost the bank’s buying of government bonds - akin to money printing - from $60 billion to $100 billion.

“We believe any significant change in the global and domestic economic outlook remains very much dependent on the containment of the virus, which is a highly uncertain factor, as evidenced today,” he said.

The further uncertainty is worrying businesses, with Mr Olsen saying job advertisements and hiring “will drop quite considerably, quite quickly” as a result.

Calls for more Government support are growing louder.

“We're already financially stressed as it is,” Oh So cafe owner Kirish Nair said.

“If the Government doesn't step up with a targeted hospitality package, businesses will close their doors,” Ms White warned. “We're talking up to 10 to 20 percent.”

Mr Olsen said “some sort of extension” will be “inevitable” to help lessen the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.