You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
National leader Judith Collins says new GDP figures showing a drop of 12% - the biggest in living memory - is proof New Zealand needs a National-led government.
The official gross domestic product figures released today showed a seasonally adjusted 12.2% fall for the three months to June.
"It is now official that we are in the deepest recession in living memory and it's proof that New Zealand needs a National-led government now that has a very clear plan," Collins told repoters.
She said it compared very unfavourably with a 7% drop seen in Australia.
"This is a devastating time for many families as they look at job prospects... we have seen 70,000 more people go on unemployment benefits since March, we are now looking at [another] 100,000 New Zealanders going on unemployment benefits."
Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said the consequences would last for many many years to come.
"It just stands to reason if you are shutting down a bigger slice of the economy it's going to increase the pain. We can go over the entrails of the past, what really matters is the future.
"We need a really strong economic plan to get back on our feet and to restore our prosperity."
National is set to release its fiscal plan tomorrow, which he said would include job creation, business investment and quality infrastructure to improve productivity.
LABOUR REACTS TO GDP RESULTS, INVESTMENT IN FREE TRADES TRAINING
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern pointed to her own party's plans to invest in infrastructure, particularly the free trades training.
"Some of the significant blows that we've experienced around GDP do relate to the very thing that's also given us economic freedom and the opening up of our economy and that was our borders.
"Yes we have seen that we've lost international tourism, that will have an impact but at the same time we have had prolonged periods of economic activity, including construction all the way through level 3.
She minimised the effect of shutting down construction during alert level 4.
"Over this entire period, seven months or so worth we only really had a period of six weeks where that wasn't happening. Then of course the level three restrictions - people were back on site, back on the job.
"What we're seeing is that actually we're seeing good growth in apprentices, in trainees, in areas where we want to grow the number of people on the job because we are investing in infrastructure projects that require people with those skills."
She seemed positive about the comparisons between New Zealand and Australia.
"I'm happy with that comparison to be made because in a number of areas, we are faring very very well, and that's in spite of the fact that actually international tourism is worth twice as much to us as it is to Australia."
"It's actually about the rebound ... I think we're already seeing we were able to open up a lot more quickly, we're seeing activity picking up even with some of the more recent restrictions.
"Compared to Australia, we are in a much better position."
Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said he backed the Labour approach, using some of the findings from the Prefu fiscal update released yesterday.
"If you compare unemployment, our peak is going to be significantly lower than Australia's, we're going to come out of this year with our debt a little lower than Australia's and our rebound will be faster and quicker."
They both brought the focus back to health.
"Success for me is saving people's lives, supporting and saving people's businesses, and coming out the other side faster and quicker and with more activity out the other side and that is what we're seeing in New Zealand."