'Really, really hard': More job cuts as Kiwis spend less during coronavirus pandemic

Significantly reduced spending during the COVID-19 lockdown is the main reason so many jobs are being lost, economist business Infometrics says. 

On Tuesday four major New Zealand businesses announced more staffing cuts, adding to a growing list of redundancies in the past few weeks.

Tourism Holdings Limited axed 140 staff with most of the employees working for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Kiwi Experience operations. 

CEO Grant Webster says it was a tough decision.

"Today's a real grind, today's really, really hard but the reality is we are positive about the future, we are going to survive." 

Retailer H&J Smith, which has been in business for 120 years, proposed cutting 175 jobs on Tuesday.

Founder Jason Smith's motto is: "If you look after the business, it will look after you". 

"That is what we are striving to do now, is to really ensure our business has another 120 years in front of it... and unfortunately to continue through that time you have to make tough decisions," he says. 

Tough decisions were also made at one of New Zealand's biggest hotel chains, Millennium and Copthorne cutting 70 percent of their staff.

The business, which consists of 20 hotels, will now lose 910 employees.

Air New Zealand also axed another 800 positions today, bringing the company's total redundancies to 4000.

There's not a region in New Zealand that won't be significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and none more so than Auckland's CBD.

By March 2021 12,400 jobs are expected to be gone in the city, that's three times worse than the global financial crisis.

Brad Olsen from Infometrics says 250,000 Kiwis could be out of work over the next year or two.

"As the wage subsidy ends in June we'll see more job losses start to come through in the economy. More again coming through in October once the extension runs out and businesses look ahead at what 2021 brings." 

Olsen also revealed spending in New Zealand during alert levels 3 and 4 was down $3 billion compared to the same time in 2019.

"That's nearly $3 billion worth of money not going to tills, that's $3 billion that's not made it into peoples' pay packet. That's money that's been lost from the economy."  

He says to give the economy a boost, Kiwis need to be visiting tourist attractions in the regions as it "will literally save jobs".

He's hoping it will help some businesses see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Other major NZ companies axing jobs:

  • Fletcher Building - 1000
  • Smith City - 115
  • Mediaworks - 130
  • The TAB - 230
  • Carter Holt Harvey - 163
  • NZME - 200
  • Toll Freight - 30
  • Invercargill Licencing Trust - 87 
  • Sky City - 900 
  • Flight Centre - 300 
  • Ngai Tahu Tourism - 300
  • Skyline Enterprises - 500
  • Bunnings Warehouse - 145
  • James Hardie - 120
  • NZ Rugby - 90
  • Hermitage Hotel - 157
  • Bauer Magazines - 237