One-third of New Zealand businesses don't expect to survive COVID-19 pandemic - survey

The economic impact of COVID-19 is starting to rear its head with about one-third of New Zealand businesses saying they don't expect to survive the crisis, according to a new survey by the Auckland Business Chamber. 

Melanie Ryding is worried her massage and personal training business in Invercargill, Ryding2Health, won't exist in a few months' time.

"We could probably hang on for 10 to 12 weeks, but after that it's going to be a problem for us for sure, and we'll be looking at layoffs," she told Newshub.

But she's not the only one who is concerned. About 30 percent of New Zealand business owners are warning their firms won't survive COVID-19.

Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says it is mainly small and medium businesses who will be forced to close.

"They don't have the resources, they don't have the money in the bank for the rainy day. So as soon as the money runs out they'll have no option but to fail," he says.

Former Business New Zealand CEO Phil O'Reilly says he wants to see the Government give handouts of up to $100,000 to smaller businesses.

"The big and dangerous gap I see in terms of business assistance is cash flow assistance, to business owners to make sure their businesses don't collapse," he told the COVID-19 Epidemic Response Committee on Wednesday.

But one of the biggest companies Mainfreight, with 1862 employees in New Zealand, has seen revenue fall 40 percent because it can only deliver essential goods.

Managing director Don Braid says he's "pleased" in some respects it's only 40 percent, since in other industries work has ground to a complete halt.

And The Tourism Industry Association says job losses in their sector are already a reality. 

"We have already seen hundreds of job losses and when the wage subsidy ends, the layoffs in our industry will be substantial," CEO Chris Roberts says.

Auckland International Airport is also asking its shareholders to cough up more than $1 billion to keep it afloat - and they won't be the last.