PHOTO: DEBBIE JAMIESON/STUFF The Queenstown Lakes economy is expected to contract 40 per cent.

Queenstown Lakes district is fast becoming one of the poorest in New Zealand and more than a quarter of its residents could be out of work.

The district includes the tourism towns of Queenstown and Wanaka, and Mayor Jim Boult said it was likely their economy would shrink 40 per cent due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The unemployment rate was likely to reach between 25 and 30 per cent, he told a Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting on Thursday.

“Literally, in little over a month, we have gone from New Zealand’s most successful district, with a growing population and a growing GDP, to potentially one of the poorest districts.