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Government bans gatherings of more than 500 people; Treasury tells Ardern the impact of Covid-19 'could' be greater than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis

Government bans gatherings of more than 500 people; Treasury tells Ardern the impact of Covid-19 'could' be greater than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis
Jacinda Ardern

Treasury has advised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the impact of Covid-19 "could" be greater than the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

“The difference of course is that there is no existing playbook for the economic response here," Ardern said at a post-Cabinet press conference on Monday, noting we can't be sure of the impact, but "can be sure it will be significant”.

The Government is requiring all indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people to be cancelled. Schools and universities are excluded.

"Phase one" of a massive fiscal stimulus package will be unveiled on Tuesday. This will include both targeted and broad support, including a Business Continuity Package.

Ardern said the focus will be on supporting businesses to keep people in work, health sector resourcing and helping the most vulnerable.

“There will be more to our response," Ardern said.

"But I want to ensure New Zealanders fully understand the damage this virus can cause both to health and our economy, and the approach the Government is taking is to ultimately lessen what will be significant effects."

Ardern also warned foreigners who don’t comply with self-isolation rules could be deported.

She said the New Zealand general election will still take place on September 19.

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I want to make it very clear that the negative impact on NZ is not because of the virus, it is because of people and government's REACTION to the virus

Economics is a social science. All downturns are really caused by our reactions to things e.g. the stock market is falling! Sell! Sell! You know what I mean? Another example: "House prices are going up faster than we can save for a deposit, we need to buy now!" It's all fear and greed. The various reasons given are just incidental.


"The virus isn't the reason, it's the excuse".
Quite right.
We are getting the rebalancing of our economy that had to come.
How..doesn't really matter in economic terms. All that matters is that it comes. And we will all be better for it in the long run.
(ie: How much better prepare would NZ be if it had used the debt incurred over the last 20 years, and certainly the last 10, bolstering our economy against unforeseen occurrences? Used it to add to our infrastructure and productive base, instead of just inflating the price of speculative assets? Much, is the answer, much)

Don't blame the govt.. blame the bat soup!

Bat soup... yeah right! Look at what else happens in Wuhan...

I don't know how all of this is going to pan out, but when this all comes out in the wash if we have less than say 50 deaths as a result of the virus, how will history judge the way we have reacted? And of those 50 deaths how many would have resulted as a consequence of the flu anyway? Have we reacted rationally or irrationally, the consequences of our actions are going to have a significant negative impact on our economy for quite some time


If there are only 50 deaths in NZ future historians will check the data for Italy and Iran and write "bloody lucky" and maybe "thank the lord for good judgement by a govt not overflowing with that attribute".

I would be more inclined to compare us to a country like Norway rather than Italy or Iran. I just hope we don't shut down domestically and we continue living our lives as close to normal as possible to support small business as much as we can. Job losses are the biggest risk to everything and could create a snowball effect

Look to Italy as an example and ask yourself if 3 weeks ago they felt they were being rational or irrational by locking down Northern Italy. Then ask them if they wish they had done more sooner. It's completely out of control there.

I'm prepared for us to overreact and be criticized for it later. (I honestly don't think we've gone early or hard enough). If we don't have the scale of spread as other countries the economic recovery will be a lot faster. Which will be a huge win. There is going to be a pain, I'm going to be impacted on a huge scale personally, as are all of us.

The alternative is to do nothing for a few weeks and cross your fingers, then have the same inevitable economic impact, but on a much larger, longer & more impacted scale.

The sooner we can recover the better. A flattened curve means we recover quicker.

Anything less than 5000 deaths in NZ from coronavirus would be a bloody good result.

Prags, I was going to post 100 but thought I was being a bit alarmist. You have changed your tune recently, I certainly hope your pessimism is far from correct. Reported world deaths so far 6524, the worst of which are China 3213, Italy 1809, Iran 724, and more comparatively Norway 3. Any death is a tragedy but anything anywhere near 5000 would be a bloody catastrophe!

Merrydaze, I wonder how you would feel, if one of those lives lost was someone you loved very much and could have been saved?

Devastated, yourself?

That goes without saying. I'm taking this seriously! This dire situation is real and NOT some media fabrication... I am pleased the government is "overreacting!"
I personally think this government will be judged well.

For a useful analysis you need to compare the path taken to possible alternative paths. For example, if we did nothing to prevent the virus spreading we'd likely have thousands, if not tens of thousands of deaths. I personally regard that as too high a price to pay for maintaining "business as usual". Of course it wouldn't even be business as usual because everyone would be too busy attending funerals and trying to avoid dying.

Wow, that's sage advice. Here I was thinking that it was the virus that caused the asset bubble / false economy, when actually it was people all along! Thanks for clearing that up.

Yvil, watch this... Then tell me it's an overreaction ...

If folks end up suffering the consequences of asset bubbles then it's at the fault of those who blew and nurtured the bubbles (and continue to try to still).

Britomart platforms at rush hour? Supermarkets on pay night? Food courts in malls?

The announcement is sheer optics, not reliable public health initiative....

March Madness? Should anyone take PT at all?
Universities don't have to close, but as soon as those kids at the AU library walk out of a lecture and onto the street to cross the road, they're suddenly a health hazard after not being one?
It's all wrong. And it's too late.

Then they'll head out from there to the auction rooms to buy a house for the next few years.

It is far from perfect / "waterproof" - but this is a game of numbers and chance so it does help . I would have taken it further.

Impact of covid bigger than GFC.
Is that including or without the effect of a financial collapse as the result of rediculus monetary policy since GFC?


But, but, but, we need higher house prices so we think we are clever, we need more immigration because we're not breeding fast enuff, we need more tourists because they create lots of low paying jobs and we need more student debt because, er, I've forgotten why.

Obviously what we don't need is more paid training and more technicians and tradies and nurses and doctors and actual skills. Absolutely no nasty dirty mining in the regions with their well paid jobs. We need more certificates that give the illusion of skills. We need more debt that gives the illusion of wealth. We need more regulations and bureaucrats and council staff and fewer builders and farmers and landlords. Everyone should do as they are told and accept their place.

< /sarc > < /rant >

And don't forget those who got the highly sought after Honours Degree in Immigration at some of our world-class English Language Schools.

Is that Shane Jones "psuedo students" who also take Post Honours degree in Petrol Station Management 101 which has a tremendous amount of practical on site training?

We need more debt because we can live luxurious lives at the ultimate expense of generations who follow.

I must be thick.....can somebody explain to me the magic figure of 500.

Someone is a NASCAR fan.
You not see the last lap?

It could be worse both NYC and Los Angeles have just close all bars and restaurants.


NgakonuiG. It's set high enough to ensure every remaining NZ first supporter can still assemble for a party rally.

If gatherings of more than 500 are banned why couldn't the Super (?) rugby continue?

They were originally pushing for 50 but some public servant who wasn't minding his own business reminded them that 50 would exclude more than half of parliament, so they were obliged to raise it to 500.

And today it is probably 10.

How about a media shut down, then we can all get a break and feel better.

Along with that a management shut down. Send all managers home so workers can get on with things with the warners and reminders.

Have you left the parliament out intentionally ?

I wish I didn't have to go to work, is the government going to compensate me for still going to work, or just the people that get to have a holiday?

Close down the media tomorrow with my blessing. In fact, with the standard of paranoia coming from Wellington I think we should shut the city totally. It's full of s....t.

Want to know where our MPs have been hiding out? Well a lot of them are now in self-isolation after returning from overseas. Not a lot of people knew that, did they? What important business in the interests of the electorate drew them overseas while it has been known for several weeks now that something major was brewing? Here are some of our jet-setting parliamentarians that have just arrived back in the country and gone into self-isolation:

Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta from Australia
National MP Chris Bishop from Australia
Green MP Chloe Swarbrick from Australia
NZ1st MP Tracey Martin from USA

End up with Police Special Tactics Group showing up at someone's funeral?

Does this mean if people have their accounts frozen to bail in the banks protests in the street are illegal if you have more than 500 people? A vaccine will be made avaliable in November this year. Everyone by law will be required to get it or they will not receive the new global UBI.

I would hope at least anti-vaxxers stick to their guns and refuse the vaccine.

The ISIS newsletter AL NABA has advised its terrorists to avoid going to the land of the epidemic(Europe).
Thanks for caring u bunch of nuts.

Shut schools and uni till end April. Extend school year to right up to Xmas... Easter holidays coming up so act now, no point banning gathering 500 when schools and Unis much larger.

Schools are absolute plague pits - worse than pretty much any other institution or activity in our whole society possibly excepting buses and trains. Kids have no judgement or memory for the sorts of behavior constraints required. They are ideal carriers who often aren't even symptomatic. Excluding them from actions taken makes everything else pretty much pointless - another example of govt wanting to be seen to be doing something while not doing anything effective.

I was watching people in the street yesterday and saw some greeting each other with hugs. Come on people please start taking this seriously!


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Days to the General Election: 39
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.