Charting Covid-19’s return to New Zealand

How is New Zealand faring in during the Covid-19 pandemic? Newsroom is taking a weekly look at the latest numbers related to the virus and the impact on the economy.

New Zealand's closed borders

Worldwide the pandemic isn't slowing down. Thousands of new cases are reported every day.

New Zealand's borders closed to non-New Zealand citizens on March 19. There are limited exceptions to the closure rule, and they can seek approval from Immigration New Zealand.

All arrivals must spend 14 days in quarantine or a managed isolation facility. They must then test negative for Covid-19 before they can go into the community.

As long as some precautions have been taken overseas, New Zealand-based air crew are exempt from quarantine, as are grooms travelling with live horses.

The excess death question

Overseas the death toll in some countries has risen sharply, with the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 far smaller than the spike seen. This has led to speculation many countries are not capturing all deaths caused by the virus. Newsroom has been supplied weekly death registration data from the Department of Internal Affairs to compare our deaths this year to previous years.

The Financial Times dug into data regarding deaths and discovered spikes in many countries which exceeds fatalities attributed to Covid-19. Image: Financial Times website

At present New Zealand's weekly deaths charts does not resemble the charts from overseas countries which have raised concern about hidden Covid 19 deaths. 


A 12 week wage subsidy initiated at the beginning of lockdown measures will come to an end in June. A targeted extension is available for businesses who can show a revenue loss of at least 50 per cent for the 30-day period prior to the application date versus the nearest comparable period last year will be eligible for the extension of the scheme.

As well as the jobseeker benefit there's a new benefit announced. 'Income relief' payments of $490 per week will be available for full-time workers who lost their job after March 1 due to Covid-19. Part-time workers will receive $250 per week. It will be available until November. After 12 weeks of income relief payments recipients will be required to apply for the jobseeker benefit if they haven't found employment.


Numbers released quarterly show a dive in card transactions and the value and volume of retail trade during the lockdown.


Tourism was New Zealand's largest export industry contributing 21% of foreign exchange earnings. In the year to March 2019 International tourism expenditure was $17.2 billion. Around 229,566 people were directly employed in tourism.

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