New Zealanders warned to be careful with cash this Christmas

An employment expert is urging New Zealanders to be careful with cash over Christmas if job security is not guaranteed with work set to wrap up for most Kiwis this week.

The holiday period begins on Friday after a year that's seen financial pain for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While banks say the economy is starting to rebound well, Small Business Voice chief executive Max Whitehead says things are still rocky.

"If your [work] position isn't secure then you should be looking for financial security, so don't spend up, don't go on wild holidays, don't go and spend a lot of money on friends and family and presents," he told Newshub on Sunday.

"You need to hold your money as long as possible because there could be a period where you're unemployed, so look after your money right now but also look out there for opportunities."

Despite predictions New Zealand's economy is in for a "pretty good" 2021, Whitehead said things could still be tough early in the new year.

"We're heading into some difficult times so you need to ensure the security of your employer."

He's advising New Zealanders to use the holiday period productively. Whitehead said people should do some career planning if they feel their current work isn't secure.

"What people need to be thinking about is, are they on the right path? Or should they be thinking further afield?

"If you are going to change [jobs] - don't change in January, February, March, I would think April, May, June is safer to go into the field because it's going to be competitive in those earlier months."

Despite earlier predictions that 200,000 Kiwi workers could be laid off as a result of COVID-19, Westpac chief executive David McLean last week said most of the people and businesses the bank assisted during the early stages of the pandemic now don't require any financial assistance.

"Almost everyone's in pretty good shape," he told The AM Show.

"A lot of our customers are ahead on their mortgage - people have been putting some money aside during the year which is quite positive, and I think that's a reflection for next year."

But McLean said New Zealand's closed borders were a key weakness and time would tell how much longer New Zealand could rely solely on domestic tourism.