17 Sep 2020

Covid-19: NZ still facing big economic shock - Shamubeel Eaqub

From Morning Report, 7:13 am on 17 September 2020

An economist says New Zealand is facing a big economic shock after Covid-19 hit.

The government opened its books for Pre Election Fiscal Update, also known as the PREFU, on Wednesday and the picture is bad, but not as bad as expected.

The Treasury report showed New Zealand emerging from the lockdowns better than expected but facing years of large deficits and ballooning debt.

Shamubeel Eaqub, an economist at Sense Partners, told Morning Report New Zealand has time, but needs to reckon with the current state of the economy.

"We should be using the time because we are facing, still, a very big economic shock.

"There'll be hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who lose their jobs, many businesses will fail. There is still a lot of work to be done."

Eaqub said if we continue on the same track we will not have enough tax to pay for all the things the government currently pays for, and there are big hard reckonings to come on both the spending and revenue side.

Host Corin Dann suggested the underlying issue with the numbers from treasury is growth, and Eaqub said he wants to see a different method of economic growth, which in the past has relied on housing and immigration.

"More of the same is not going to give us better outcomes."