Coronavirus: Financial impact could be worse than global financial crisis - economist

The biggest shock in living memory, a one-in-100-year event - that's how economists are describing the effect on our economy from COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Government will fight back with what Jacinda Ardern is describing as the most significant package she'll announce as Prime Minister - and it has to be.

"Shutting the borders - we are talking an economic impact that is bigger than Ben Hur," economist Cameron Bagrie says.

"It was the right move but it also a gut punch to the New Zealand economy. A recession is now inevitable," Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen adds.

The question now is how deep and how long will a recession last.

"Expectations are rising that this could be a much larger hit to the economy than the global financial crisis," Olsen says.

"I don't think we've seen anything of this scale or happen this rapidly in modern history."

The effects are going to cut deep and for some businesses and industries, right to the bone.

Hotel owner Sunny Kaushal says forcing all arrivals to NZ to self-isolate has thrown the hotel industry into chaos.

"How are we going to contain them, how we going to separate them from the staff and the other customers for the safety of the staff?" he asks.

Not to mention visitor numbers will plummet.

The Beehive is functioning as a kind of war room with work underway around the clock preparing the Government's battleplan to fiscally fight COVID-19.

"They need to jump into the fight and there needs to be a massive - and I mean huge - fiscal policy injection," Bagrie says.

"I'd be expecting anywhere from $10-20 billion."

Even National is toning down the attack, welcoming the travel restrictions and waiting with baited breath for the Government's economy package.

"It needs to be significant and timely," finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

"We need to get the money into the hands of people and businesses quickly."

All will be revealed on Tuesday.