NZ has 1000 fewer businesses since last year, as Covid-19 continues to bite

Source: 1News

There are 1000 fewer businesses in New Zealand compared a year ago, as the effects of last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns linger on, the latest Stats NZ data shows. 

Stats NZ shows there were more than 1000 fewer businesses in the country in January this year than January 2020, before lockdown began. 

Before borders closed, the number of businesses in the country grew to 10,500. 

Stats NZ business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said data showed three out of four firms received pandemic-related financial support from the Government last year. 

“Government assistance offered during Covid-19 restrictions, including wage subsidies and business loans, was one of the key things businesses used to help stay afloat last year,” she said. 

The data also showed about 40 per cent of businesses tried to find other ways to save money, including negotiating or deferring rent. 

Meanwhile, one in six businesses had to lay off staff, and a third delayed investing in things like new land, buildings, machinery or equipment. 

BusinessNZ’s planning forecast, released earlier this week for the quarter of March, showed the economy is in a “holding pattern”. 

Its economic conditions index - which measures economic indicators like GDP, export volumes, inflation, debt and consumer and business confidence - is also down two per cent on the previous quarter. 

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope said many firms were close to the edge.

"Our rate of growth is forecast to be modest until the border is properly reopened. Until then, we face prospects of a two-speed economy, with some sectors and regions growing while others struggle," he said. 

"Currently, many in the business community feel there is no clear pathway forward for dealing with Covid-19, given it is likely to be with us for some time yet.”

He said the Government should be consistent with how it managed the health risk Covid-19 posed while minimising the impact on the economy.