Coronavirus: Queenstown goes from richest region to one of the poorest

Statistics released on Friday show the chilling impact COVID-19 is having on New Zealand's adventure capital. 

In just a month, the Queenstown Lakes District has gone from being the richest region in the country to one of the poorest - with 30 percent of the community facing unemployment.

"We could not be any worse than we are at the present time," Mayor Jim Boult said.

Iconic destinations such as the Shotover River are quiet with the resident racing red jet boats gone, and Queenstown's Earnslaw is tied up with nowhere to go.

"Two months ago we were the most desirable part of New Zealand to live in; growth and population growth and GDP," Boult said. 

"Suddenly we have morphed into being probably the most financially challenged district in our country." 

A noted economist is predicting the region's economy will shrink by 40 percent and the unemployment rate will rise to between 25 and 30 percent of the population. 

Everyone here is resilient and we will get through it but there's certainly going to be some more pain on the way through," said AJ Hackett Bungy director Henry Van Asch. 

Critical to Queenstown's survival is the re-opening of ski fields as a draw card. 

"It'll allow people from Christchurch or Auckland or Wellington to travel to Queenstown to ski and to be able to stay in hotels and use restaurants and bars again and that's going to be really vitally important to the resort," said NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson.