Government's COVID-19 Business Advisory Council should reconvene ahead of looming economic crisis, employers say

Employers want the Government to reconvene the Business Advisory Council it used during COVID-19

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) has called for people with knowledge of the business world to advise the Government through a looming economic crisis. 

COVID-19's aftermath had contributed to the economic crisis and the EMA said businesses would be forced to close their doors should recent predictions of 5 percent-plus unemployment come to fruition. 

ANZ forecasts showed unemployment rising to 5.3 percent by the end of 2024. 

EMA head of strategy advocacy Alan McDonald told AM on Thursday that was a "scary" proposition for employers.

He added massive efforts went into retaining jobs during COVID-19, including through the wage subsidy.

"Now we're saying, 'Look, that's OK, we've got inflation so let's raise the unemployment number,'" McDonald told host Ryan Bridge.

"It's almost like inflation's the new COVID - we had the Business Advisory Council to help during the COVID crisis, let's get some better ideas instead of, 'Let's just make people unemployed.'"

McDonald said New Zealand could do better and the business community was willing to help overcome major issues - such as staff shortages, rising costs and supply chain problems - and work with Government and to rebuild confidence.

He said morale was already low among employers after battling through COVID-19 for the past two years.

McDonald said talks of a looming recession weren't helping their situations.

"Messaging like that from the Government or the central bank, or whoever… [for] some of them, that's going to be the breaking point for them - we've got to do better than that."

The Government should be looking to fund more training in the workplace and free up the immigration pipeline to increase productivity and wages, McDonald said.

"If we can do that then that will help, I think, just get rid of some of that miasma."