The Government would consider direct assistance to tourism industry players if the fallout from coronavirus lasts well beyond the first half of the year.

In the meantime, the Government's $11 million package to boost tourism will target North America and Australia, while an advisory group will be set up to put together a "NZ Inc" plan to woo the China market when it reopens for business.

Representatives of the tourism sector - including from Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Air NZ, and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports - came to the Beehive this evening to share their concerns with Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.

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Treasury is considering three scenarios for the impacts of coronavirus on the New Zealand economy: a significant drop in the first half of this year before bouncing back, a longer-lasting decline, and a global recession.

The first scenario is what is currently predicted, but Robertson said the second and third scenarios became more likely as the spread of the virus threatened a global pandemic.

No one at tonight's meeting had asked for any direct Government assistance, he said.

"If we move into either of those second or third scenarios, then clearly other things get on the table - but we're not there yet.

"As the virus spreads to other countries, we start to move more closely to our second scenario ... We are a ways off the third scenario."

Robertson said there was no estimate on how much, in dollar terms, the impacts of coronavirus would cost the tourism sector.

Air New Zealand said today that the virus would dampen profits by up to $75 million, and its share price fell 4.3 per cent.

Tourism Holdings fell 2.6 per cent and Auckland International Airport, feeling the drop in Chinese tourists, said the virus may cost it $10m this year.


Meanwhile a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea preceded a slump in stockmarkets overnight, with Wall Street down more than 3 per cent and the NZX-50 falling 1.2 per cent.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Davis said that an advisory group would be put together to promote "NZ Inc" in China once travel in and trade out of China returned to normal.

That would involve some Government resources, which would be on top of the $11 million already announced by the Government to boost tourism.

"Key markets are really North America and Australia," Davis said when asked who the $11m marketing package would target.

"Those markets are still open, people are still visiting us from there and we're looking to capitalise on that and reinforce the fact that New Zealand is here and we are open."

Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister, at the press conference in Tehran, a day before he tested positive for coronavirus. Video / AP

Yesterday the Government extended the travel ban on foreign nationals coming to New Zealand from China, but an exemption for Chinese tertiary students is being considered.

The Government is also looking at moving struggling forestry workers into jobs with the Department of Conservation, which could include track clearance or eradicating wilding pines.

Robertson said today's fall in financial markets around the world was not unexpected.

"Everybody was expecting that there would be impacts at some point and we've had that day today. We'll continue to monitor that very closely."