Bay business experts are not ruling out an economic slowdown, but anticipate it will be more of "a dip than a prolonged recession".
This comes as the NZX followed a global slump yesterdayand the price of oil sank nearly 20 per cent.
Cabinet approved a package to support business continuity into the outbreak on Monday.The package includes a target wage subsidy scheme for workers in the most affected sectors and training and redeployment opportunities for affected employees.
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Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Matt Cowley, said a recession - technically two or more successive quarters of negative growth - was possible for New Zealand, but that needed to be kept in perspective.
"Most people associate a recession with a catastrophic market failure – a recession just means negative GDP growth for two or more quarters."
He said most forecasts anticipated a zero to low growth across the global economy for the first half of the year.
In the case of a recession, he said the local population was likely to continue to grow and "hopefully" produce would continue to be taken to the international market and the domestic tourism to the Bay would pick up.
He said Covid-19 had hit the region towards the end of the tourism season but it had coincided with the beginning of the kiwifruit exporting season and exporting restrictions would make a number of local businesses "nervous".
Regarding the Government business continuity package, he said the Government was in a "difficult position" as each region faced different risks.
For example, Whakatāne tourism and hospitality operators were still recovering from the Whakaari/White Island eruption, while Asian and European tourists were a key market for Rotorua.
"It is in everyone's best interests to keep as many people employed and in business as possible. Cash flow will be key for businesses getting through these tougher times."
He said whether the package was effective depended on how intensely and how long the impacts were felt.
Cowley believed the support would be reassessed regularly, particularly with the Government elections on later this year.
He said since the environment was changing, it was important for businesses to keep informed and to start putting practical plans in place to protect staff and the business.
The chamber was conducting a survey of the local business community, in co-ordination with the Regional Business Partner Network, to understand how businesses could be impacted by the coronavirus and what support they would need.
Craigs Investment Partners head of private wealth research, Mark Lister, said a recession was possible but it did not mean "another 2008-style collapse."
"A recession is simply a slow down or a decline in output from where we were before," he said. "It doesn't always mean the wheels fall off completely and you have a global meltdown where everyone loses their jobs and its a disaster."
He said New Zealand was in a strong position - with low Government debt levels, unemployment, and interest rates - to tackle a recession, compared to the 2008 crash.
If a recession did occur, people might lose their jobs or have hours cut, house prices tended to flatten off or fall and people had less disposable income.
Despite the hit the global and national sharemarket had taken, most investors or KiwiSaver members should keep their eye on the long-term game.
"We shouldn't let a month to month, or even year to year, loss change our strategy," he said.
He said the New Zealand sharemarket had gone up by 10 per cent per annum during the last 50 years, despite recessions and dips.
Someone might be affected by the dip, however, if they were looking to draw on their shares or KiwiSaver funds in the next year or so.
Priority One chief executive, Nigel Tutt, said the economic development organisation was "wary but not alarmed" at this stage and expected "a dip than a prolonged recession," like that in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
He said the direct local effects of coronavirus were isolated to a few industries but an overall downturn in confidence could be expected.
He said the business continuity package was uncertain but would be welcomed.
For more information
investnewzealand.nz- Information for exporters
business.govt.nz - Information for businesses
worksafe.govt.nz - Workplace preparedness
Source: Priority One