Extra support for businesses struggling with COVID-19 impacts welcomed

Mar 23, 2020

The Government’s massive boost to business support is welcome recognition of the impacts of Covid-19 on the economy as New Zealand faces a Level 4 lockdown says the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA).

The Government announced it will extend the package to all businesses and remove the $150,000 cap on support as the Prime Minister a pending shift to Level 4 measures within 48 hours. That takes the support package to $9.3 billion.

EMA CEO Brett O’Riley said other measures such as a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme and mortgage support were also critical for struggling businesses.

“Many small businesses are financially backed by mortgages on the family home while it appears the Guarantee Scheme will be similar to the package announced in Australia last week. We’ll know the details in the next 48 hours with Finance Minister Grant Robertson indicating further wage and salary support measures may be on the way.

“We were pleased to see support extended to all businesses including charities, NGOs and the self-employed and recognition of the issues facing new businesses and those who have had significant revenue boosts compared to last year.”

With the Level 4 lock down scheduled for a minimum of four weeks the current wage support scheme has been capped at 12 weeks for wage support and eight weeks for sick leave support.

“That may need to change if the lockdown goes beyond four weeks,” say Mr O’Riley, but Minister Robertson is taking and prudent approach while indicating that the Government remains open to revisiting timelines if the lockdown continues.

“Another important initiative for business is the Epidemic Notice as that gives Government powers to cut through regulatory and red tape issues that may be causing unnecessary issues in such difficult times.

“This is a strong support package from Government with more detail to come.”

Mr O’Riley urged business seeking assistance to call to visit the MSD website or call the EMA’s AdviceLine service which is now being made available to non-EMA members.

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