Understanding New Zealand’s Stimulus Packages and Grants

May 11, 2020

To protect jobs and support the economy, New Zealand Government agencies have implemented a number of financial support programs to help individuals and businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the nationwide legislative response landscape continues to evolve, here is NetSuite’s guide to key resources for companies seeking information or considering applying for grants, loans and other assistance:

Modified wage subsidy program(opens in new tab)

Overview: The program helps businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 receive wage subsidies so they can keep paying their staff and maintain an employment connection. Full-time workers from eligible businesses will receive $585.80 per week while part-time workers will receive $350 per week until 30 June 2020.

Who is eligible? Businesses that have more than a 30% decline in revenue, actual or predicted, compared to last year, due to COVID-19.

How to access it: Businesses are encouraged to use the wage subsidy eligibility tool(opens in new tab) to assess their eligibility. If they are eligible, they should apply for the wage subsidy program on the Work and Income website(opens in new tab). The information they provide in their application will be verified with Inland Revenue.


COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme(opens in new tab)

Overview: To help employers pay their workers who need to stay away from work and cannot work from home, the government of New Zealand is providing $585.80 per week for full-time workers and $350.00 per week for part-time workers. This includes contractors, the self-employed and disabled people who employ help through individual funding arrangements.

Who is eligible? Under the Alert Level 3(opens in new tab), this covers all employers that have either:

  • Experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue due to COVID-19 over the period of a month when compared to the same month last year, or a reasonably equivalent month for a business operating less than a year, or
  • Are not able to financially support employees due to the COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Employers that meet these criteria can apply for workers that meet one of the four categories below:

  1. Workers who are infected with COVID-19 who must remain in isolation until advised otherwise by a health professional.
  2. Workers who have had close contact with an infected person and are in self-isolation.
  3. Workers with dependents who are either sick with COVID-19, or whose dependents are self-isolating as the result of a close contact.
  4. Workers who have serious health conditions, or in their household, that put them at higher risk of becoming infected from COVID-19, and who agree with their employer that they will not work for an agreed period. 

How to access it: Eligible employers can apply on the Work and Income website(opens in new tab).


Business Finance Guarantee Scheme(opens in new tab)

Overview: Starting 1 April small and midsized businesses can now apply to their banks for loans of up to $500,000, for up to three years under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme. The New Zealand Government has guaranteed 80% of the risk, while the banks will be covering 20%.

Who is eligible? Businesses that are New Zealand-based and have an annual turnover between $250,000 and $80,000,000 are eligible to apply for a loan under the scheme. However, businesses that were on their bank’s credit watch list at the outset of COVID-19 will not be eligible.

How to access it: Applications for a loan under the scheme must be made to a bank that is participating in the scheme. The bank will use its normal credit assessment process to determine whether finance can be supported, while also considering circumstances due to COVID-19.


Tax Relief and Income Assistance(opens in new tab)

Overview: The government of New Zealand is offering a number of tax relief and income assistance initiatives to businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19. These include:

Who is eligible? Businesses that have been affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19. This includes businesses that are unable to pay their taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19.

How to access it: For the full list of tax relief and income assistance available, visit the Inland Revenue Tax Relief website.(opens in new tab)


Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network Support(opens in new tab)

Overview: The Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network supports small and midsized enterprises in New Zealand that will now have access to additional resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes on-the-ground business advisors who can provide tailored guidance, free workshops and access to Business Mentors New Zealand’s mentoring service. It covers areas such as HR, health and wellbeing, cashflow and finance management, and strategy.

Who is eligible? Businesses within the network.

How to access it: Registered businesses should contact their RBP Advisor.


Federal Support for NGOs and Community Groups(opens in new tab)

Overview: Effective 26 March, The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, announced a $27 million package to social sector services and community groups to ensure that essential services are continually provided throughout the lockdown.

This includes up to $16 million to bolster existing essential social sector services delivered by NGOs to help at-risk individuals, families, whānau and communities; up to $6 million funding for disability Community Participation providers; and up to $4.8 million to provide community grants or fund innovative community-led solutions to support local resilience.

Who is eligible? A list of essential social services is here(opens in new tab). This includes services that ensure people have access to food and other survival necessities, provide places for people to live, support the disabled and keep families safe from harm and offer crisis support.

How to access it: For additional guidance and information, please visit the Ministry of Social Development website(opens in new tab).

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