Targeted support for rural communities in the COVID-19 recovery - NZIER Insight 86

22 May 2020

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc)
Media Release, 22 May 2020
For immediate release

Rural communities that are reliant on tourism or have pre-existing socio-economic deprivation will need the most support during the COVID-19 recovery, NZIER finds in an Insight released today.

“New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 must include rural communities” says NZIER Principal Economist Dr Bill Kaye-Blake. “Using data from Statistics NZ, Reserve Bank of NZ, Treasury and NZIER analysis, we have looked at which regions are likely to benefit most from targeted government support”.

NZIER’s findings suggest that no region of New Zealand will escape an economic downturn, but some local areas will be hit harder than others. This is due to the unique structure of each local economy – for example, districts with more tourism and construction will experience greater economic losses than those with a different mix of industries.

“I think we all realise intuitively that Queenstown and other tourist hot-spots are going to be hit extremely hard by unemployment” says Kaye-Blake. “But we also need to consider other rural communities that are going to struggle in the coming months and years because they were already vulnerable before the pandemic”.

The upcoming challenge for policy-makers will be to support the communities that need it the most.

“While broad-brush, universal policies can be useful in the early stages of a pandemic response, recovery policy has time to be more thoughtful and targeted. Our analysis shows how to identify communities that will potentially have the largest challenges, and whether the challenges arise from recent or long-standing issues”.

For further information please contact:
Dr Bill Kaye-Blake
Principal Economist, 027 362 0743

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