Coronavirus: Business leaders urge innovation in post-lockdown economy rebuild

Business leaders are trying to think of innovative ways to get the economy back on its feet after COVID-19 sent it into a deep recession.

The economic pain caused by nearly all shops being forced to shut can be remedied, but experts say it won't be smooth sailing.

Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr says Kiwis may be apprehensive to go back to public places, and he wants the Government to consider economic measures that have never been used before in New Zealand.

"I think we'll be a bit nervous to go back to the cinema or the restaurant, or go back to how we lived a few months back.

"If things do really deteriorate, there's always the ability to hand out cash."

Handing out cash may sound extreme, but Australia has done it before and the US did it again weeks ago.

But even after the lockdown has finished, the economy won't immediately return to what it was previously.

Hospitality and retail have been shaken to their core, and one of our biggest economic contributors, tourism, has been decimated.

Co-founder of Manaaki Andrew Hamilton is also urging a rethink of business practices.

"Go digital, go online, collaborate. Businesses are starting to go, 'Let's actually work together'," he says.

Kerr also sees the benefits in conducting business via technology.

"I think there are some silver linings here as to how we run our economy more efficiently."

A crucial piece in this economic recovery puzzle are the banks.  They need to keep money flowing to businesses and households to ensure New Zealanders can afford to bounce back - and one of their watchdogs will make sure they do.

"They need to step up to the plate," Financial Markets Authority CEO Rob Everett says.

Banks so far have loaned an extra $7.5 billion to businesses and consumers during the lockdown. They've also allowed customers to pay only interest for almost $33 billion worth of loans, and allowed them to pause all repayments on $17 billion worth of loans. 

With banks on board, and optimists among us, the economy could soon be back on its feet.