New Zealand's Covid-19 lockdowns may cause a deeper recession than Australia, a senior Westpac economist said.

The warning comes as New Zealand face an economic downturn even more severe than the early part of the 1930s Great Depression.

Auckland-based Michael Gordon, a senior economist at Westpac, says the bank is expecting next week's official figures to show an 11.5 per cent contraction for the June quarter - a level more severe than Australia's record 7 per cent drop during the same period.

Australia's economy shrunk by only 0.3 per cent - despite the devastating summer bushfires. PM Scott Morrison, pictured. Photo / Getty Images
Australia's economy shrunk by only 0.3 per cent - despite the devastating summer bushfires. PM Scott Morrison, pictured. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's gross domestic product fell by 1.6 per cent in the March quarter as Australia's economy shrunk by only 0.3 per cent - despite the devastating summer bushfires.

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In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, the Kiwi economy plunged by seven per cent in one year.

If recovery does not materialise in the September and December quarters, New Zealand could suffer an even worse downturn than 88 years ago.

Westpac's Gordon told Daily Mail Australia that New Zealand's alert level 4 lockdown had effectively closed down one third of the economy in April.

"The Covid-19 lockdown was one of the most extraordinary events in New Zealand's economic history," Gordon said.

"Such a massive change inevitably comes with a wide margin of uncertainty."

The dramatic lockdown from March 25 until June 8 was one on the strictest in the world, as part of an elimination strategy.

Auckland went into lockdown again last month and came out of it on August 31.

By comparison, Australia's states and territories implemented more moderate stage 3 restrictions, which closed non-essential businesses such as cinemas, nightclubs, gyms and restaurants.

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Unlike New Zealand, Australia allowed restaurants to offer takeaway meals from the end of March.

More recently the state of Victoria has resorted to Kiwi-style restrictions, while allowing restaurants to offer takeaways.

During the June quarter, the UK's economy contracted by 20.4 per cent, the US economy dropped by 9.5 per cent, French GDP shrunk by a 13.8 per cent drop, as Canada's economy plunged by 11.5 per cent.