Coronavirus pandemic: Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult fears business failures, redundancies amid COVID-19 outbreak

Queenstown's Mayor fears business failures, redundancies, and people unable to pay their mortgages as the COVID-19 situation develops.

A Danish woman on Sunday became Queenstown's first case - and was travelling with others.

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult says local businesses are looking for help to keep the engine running until some sort of normality returns.

"They're looking for wage support, they're looking for tax breaks and maybe looking for some funding or some encouragement for banks to provide additional funding for businesses, hotels and the like to keep them going," Boult told Newshub.

An emergency management team in Queenstown is discussing ways of supporting locals and visitors needing to self-isolate.

Boult said they're trying to get together a range of accommodation for different levels of isolation.

"All that is at hand at the council to provide that sort of welfare at the present time."

Meanwhile, economist Cameron Bagrie said the slashed Official Cash Rate will help New Zealanders but won't solve everything. 

The Reserve Bank has cut the OCR to 0.25-percent amid the coronavirus concerns. 

Cameron Bagrie.
Cameron Bagrie. Photo credit: The AM Show

Bagrie told Newshub that New Zealand is in for a tough 12-months.

"I think a lot of other countries around the globe are in a worse position than New Zealand but no illusions, things are going to be difficult over the coming year so buckle up, it's going to be a hell of a ride."