Coronavirus: 200,000 Kiwi could be laid off as a result of COVID-19

Working from home may soon become no work at all with thousands of workers expected to be made redundant and the economy diving into one of the deepest recessions yet.

Westpac's chief economist Dominick Stephens says the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown could cause up to 200,000 workers to be laid off, which is three times the number that was predicted last week.

The tourism, retail and hospitality sectors are expected to be the worst hit and some of New Zealand's biggest construction companies could fall over.

The New Zealand Government has so far paid out $2.7 billion in wage subsidies to keep income coming for 428,000 workers but Stephens says more needs to be done.

"I do think individual arrangements with very large firms are going to be required, and it remains to be seen what those will be."

Air New Zealand has already been given a $900 million Government loan.

Infrastructure New Zealand CEO Paul Blair says: "With that support to Air New Zealand that's effectively, partly Government-owned. 

"There's a bunch of private operators that provide infrastructure and construction as well and they're also hurting."

Some of the country's most costly projects including the Skycity convention centre, commercial bay, and Auckland Airport's second runway have been put on hold while the country is in lockdown. 

Only projects relating to essential services like hospitals or critical infrastructures like water and power supply will continue. 

This means thousands of tradies are out of work and will soon be facing pay cuts.

Fletcher Building CEO Ross Taylor says he is in talks with the Government about paying wages but until then one of the country's biggest employers will struggle.

"Effectively you've got zero revenue, zero income, and just costs, and the lion share of those will be people, they're about two-thirds of it. 

"They will be paid. Will they be paid the whole amount? I doubt that."