Westpac boss predicts 'pretty good' 2021 despite economic fallout from coronavirus

New Zealand's economy is in for a "pretty good" year next year, according to the chief executive of Westpac, as the world's economy looks to rebound from the pandemic that closed borders and plunged countries into lockdowns.

The country has seen economic pain as a result of COVID-19 but Infometrics data released last month showed many businesses and consumers were able to "swing back into action" between July and September this year. 

Westpac chief executive David McLean agrees the economy has rebounded well.

"I think next year's going to be pretty good, actually. We had a big downfall this year and a big rebound so next year's going to be pretty good," McLean told The AM Show on Monday.

"It's going to be a race between the economy slowing and the vaccine coming."

The UK is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. McLean said the start of the vaccine rollout means people will be confident the end of the pandemic is in sight.

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

"Almost everyone's in pretty good shape."

When the pandemic hit New Zealand in March, the Government announced a wage subsidy scheme for all businesses affected by COVID-19 that could show a 30 percent decline in revenue. It paid $585.80 per week for full-time staff and $350 for part-time staff. McLean said that Government support has meant the economy has stayed resilient.

He said New Zealanders are also continuing to spend "like mad" and most aren't living beyond their means.

"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."

McLean sees closed borders as a key weakness in the economy's rebound and said time would tell how much longer New Zealand could rely solely on domestic tourism.