The economic impact of the new lockdown will be "relatively small", Westpac economists say in a new report.
"Each week around $300 million of economic activity will be foregone, which equates to 0.5 per cent of quarterly GDP," the report's lead author, chief economist Dominick Stephens, says.
"However, for a brief lockdown a higher proportion of that lost activity would be recouped shortly afterwards, so the actual lasting economic damage would be significantly smaller than this $300 million figure."
This contrasts with early estimates done last week by ASB economists, which saw the current lockdown settings costing the country around $440 million a week.
"Less downbeat, is how I'd describe it, rather than upbeat," Stephens said.
"The cost will be smaller than for the first lockdown because the economy is now taking a hit from an already damaged baseline."
For example, the latest lockdown can't reduce international travel and associated services much further, because spending on these areas is already close to zero, he said.
"Similarly, some events like sports fixtures were already cancelled before this lockdown, and some New Zealanders were already behaving more cautiously than normal."
All the economists making forecasts since the new outbreak have been cautious to emphasise the heightened levels of uncertainty around the outlook.
Even at $440m a week, ASB senior economist Mark Smith described the macro-economic impact of the new lockdown as "incremental".
ANZ released revised GDP figures yesterday, which factored in both the stronger than expected economic performance through June and July as well as well as the new lockdown costs.
Initial estimates have focused on work by Treasury and the RBNZ on how much of the economic activity can take place at various alert levels.
One of the big variables in forecasts is how economists see consumers reacting to the new lockdown and how businesses cope with operating at the alert levels.
The more optimistic takes from Westpac (and others like independent economist Tony Alexander) make the case that consumers and businesses will be better able to adapt quickly to this lockdown because of the previous experience.
But others such as Infometrics and ANZ have warned that business may fare worse this time as both they and consumers are starting from a weaker point.
"I think we just have to look at the evidence we have," Westpac's Stephens said.
"There's been a lot of different takes and lot of it is just opinion. Without having been through a pandemic and these kind of lockdowns before, its crucial to look at the lessons we have seen."
"There is substantial evidence that the economy has fared better than even our forecasts, and we were at the less pessimistic end of the range."
Part of that was because of the quicker-than-expected drop to alert level 1, and the subsequent 102 days without community spread of Covid-19.
"But the more crucial factor was that the economy bounced back much more readily than
anyone predicted once the alert level was lowered," Stephens said
"It shows that eliminating the virus, allowing the domestic economy to operate without restrictions, is a hugely valuable achievement from an economic perspective as well as the obvious health benefits."
It also suggested that bouts of tighter restrictions "are a feasible response when flare-ups of the virus occur".
The Westpac report does, however, warn that a sustained outbreak or a move to alert level 4 would have "severe implications" for its forecasts.
"If there was another level 4 lockdown, we anticipate that economic activity in the September quarter would look similar to June," the report says.
Westpac is currently forecasting a quarterly GDP change of -13 per cent for the June quarter, with a third-quarter bounce of 12.3 per cent, for an annual average of change of -4.7 per cent in 2020.
It forecasts unemployment will peak at 7 per cent.
Westpac has for several months been forecasting that the Reserve Bank will be forced to cut the official cash rate into negative territory .
That is a view now shared by all the major economists following changes this week.