Coronavirus: Thousands of Kiwis think cash bonus from Government will kickstart economy

New research has shown thousands of New Zealanders think a lump sum paid to everyone in the country will effectively kickstart the floundering economy.

A study from Horizon Research showed 67 percent of Kiwis thought a payout would work while just 23 percent said it would be ineffective.

Horizon surveyed 1150 members of its specialist online research panel, which represents the New Zealand adult population at the 2018 Census.

It found that while people think that cash would help, they are divided over how much the Government should pay out.

Peak support is at $1500 with 20 percent saying it's the magic number - but 6 percent say a payment of more than $3000 would be what the country needs. 

If a lump sum of $1500 was paid out to every New Zealander, 40 percent say they would spend the cash on household food, 30 percent would spend it on bills and 24 percent would save it.

The idea of a payout to fix the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the economy has not been ruled out by Finance Minister Grant Robertson who said in April it's "part of a potential package".

However Robertson was quick to point out the idea has flaws too.

"It's not particularly targeted. There are upsides and downsides to all of these options, and that's what we have to work through." 

Infometrics economist Brad Olsen told Stuff money would be useless in the immediate aftermath of the level 4 lockdown, as people would remain cautious about spending. But once cinemas and cafes were open and travel restrictions lifted, as they will be when the country enters alert level 2 on Thursday, it could encourage people to spend on non-essentials again. 

This sentiment is echoed in the survey which shows 17 percent of people would use at least a portion of a hypothetical payout to take a domestic holiday - feeding cash back into the wavering tourism business.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in April the Government hasn't ruled anything in or out.

"We are focused on doing what will help our economy recover the fastest," she told reporters. 

"We've got to make sure that what we do works. There are certain points in a recovery where payments like that aren't necessarily successful or create the stimulus you want."

The Government's 2020 Budget will be released on Thursday - until then Kiwis will have to wait and see whether they will be paid out.