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Peters says coronavirus rescue package 'more significant' than any he's seen worldwide

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 17/03/2020 Craig Mcculloch
Winston Peters et al. looking at a cell phone © RNZ /Dom Thomas

As New Zealanders brace for a global downturn due to Covid-19, the Deputy Prime Minister is promising a rescue package "more significant" than any other he's seen around the world.

The government is to reveal a multi-billion-dollar stimulus plan this afternoon designed to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus by keeping people in jobs and businesses afloat.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters this morning told reporters the plan was fit for the size of the crisis.

"It is more significant than any other package I've seen worldwide, but it's what we will have to do if we're to turn this thing around as fast as possible."

Peters said the government had "always known" the country was headed for a recession and was now focused on the bounce-back.

Treasury officials had been planning for three scenarios with the worst being a sustained global downturn.

Just last week, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said New Zealand was likely in the second scenario: a sharp shock to the economy lasting for the whole of 2020.

But speaking at Parliament on Tuesday morning, Robertson said the country was now "well and truly" in the most serious phase.

"We don't know [the full extent of the shock] yet because we're at such an early stage, but the preliminary advice we are getting is that the effects will be worse than the GFC [Global Financial Crisis]."

Robertson is expected to lay out more details about the economic impact this afternoon.

"It's very important that we focus on helping and supporting people through what is a very difficult time, whilst we also build towards a recovery," he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has previously described the government's stimulus package as the most significant that she will announce in the role.

RELATED: FAQs: Facts about COVID-19 as per World Health Organization

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