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New Zealand’s economy is currently volatile because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the public health response. In May 2020 Waka Kotahi released commissioned research into the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, to help us understand the potential socio-economic impacts on New Zealand’s regions and communities at that time.

The pandemic is impacting immigration, New Zealand’s economic structure and customer preferences among many other things, all of which have flow-on effects for transport demand. It will also present funding and financing challenges for the public and private sector.

The analysis of the 2020 research primarily focuses on the potential impacts over the next four years as the country recovers from the initial pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown, but it also contains estimates of what will happen between years 5-10 in terms of the ‘direction of travel’ for demographics and the economy. The analysis has helped shape the strategic direction of Arataki V2.

Arataki V2 represents our best and most current view of the challenges and opportunities facing the land transport system over the next decade as at May 2020. We cannot anticipate the full extent or implications of COVID-19 on New Zealand or how we will need to respond. Significant levels of uncertainty remain regarding the scale and duration of COVID-19 impacts, particularly in the medium to long-term.

Updated research

In the 12 months since Arataki was updated, the economy has performed better than expected from initial COVID-19 economic projections.

In light of this, Waka Kotahi commissioned an update to its 2020 report. This revised research report and its findings is published below.

Key outtakes from the revised research are:

  • New Zealand fared much better than expected in the 2020 calendar year, although economic activity still declined significantly.
  • There continue to be quite different impacts of Covid-19 on different sectors and regions.
  • The gap between GDP projections and pre-Covid-19 expectations of the economy’s size is forecast to have closed to almost zero by 2025, even for the new Downside Scenario.
  • Considerable uncertainty remains about the potential scale and duration of the COVID-19 downturn, for example with regards to the duration of border restrictions.

COVID-19 research FAQs [PDF, 45 KB]

May 2021 COVID-19 research reports

May 2020 COVID-19 research reports

The data used in these reports is also available to download:

May 2021 COVID-19 employer modelling

The 2021 updated employment modelling is now available to use as an interactive dashboard.

May 2020 COVID-19 employer modelling

The employment modelling used to inform Arataki V2 is available to use as an interactive dashboard.

Regional summaries of potential impacts, as at May 2020