New Zealand finds itself at a crossroads having contained the spread of COVID-19 domestically and enjoying almost no
restrictions on day-to-day life. However, with our borders closed the growing social and economic costs are mounting.
PwC’s updated Rebuild New Zealand
report, launched today (31 July 2020), explores this paradoxical situation, which is unique to our country. To enable
any reopening of our borders, it is critical that New Zealand steps up efforts and accepts additional control measures
to reduce the prospect of any future widespread COVID-19 outbreak, recognising any such border reopening will inevitably
create risk that isolated cases will re-emerge within New Zealand.
“What is clear is that continued constraint on some of our major export and trade sectors is taking a heavy toll on our
economy. The time has come to find a way of safely resuming business and social connections. To do this it will be
critical to have strict precautionary measures in place beyond the border and a shared responsibility across government
and business,” says PwC CEO and Senior Partner Mark Averill.
The latest report
considers the many social, economic and political developments that have occurred since PwC published its first Rebuild New Zealand
report at the start of June, at a time when the country was emerging from lockdown.
PwC Partner David Bridgman says: “There is an ongoing and pervasive uncertainty about the true extent of economic
fallout within our economy, as we await the full impact of the wage subsidy and mortgage holidays ending and begin to
appreciate the impact of the pandemic on our key trading partners such as Australia and China. If we don’t take steps
now towards implementing some level of support for businesses to boost trade, thousands more jobs will be lost and more
good businesses will fail.”
As the country prepares for the forthcoming general election in September, the new report also warns of the risk of a
hiatus in decision making and inaction on the Government’s part, which is something New Zealand can ill afford.