NZ Government Business Support Package

23 Feb 2021

All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.

The Government’s Unite Against COVID-19 website here continues to be the up to date source for all information on financial support for businesses.

Update 23 February 2021: Applications for the Resurgence Support Payment are now open until 23 March 2021. More information is available below (under Financial Support for Businesses). 

One of the most valuable tools in finding out what financial help may be available to you and your business is the COVID-19 financial support tool.  It takes you through a step by step series of questions to understand your personal circumstances, and then tells you what financial help and support you can access, and where. 

Immigration and labour updates

You can find updated Seasonal Labour information, including information about Immigration processes, RSE and SSE schemes on the NZW website here.

Financial support for staff

In addition to the Resurgence Support Payment discussed above, there is a package of support available, including:

  • A new Short Term Absence Payment to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice. Further information about this payment is available on the MSD website.
  • The Leave Support Scheme helps businesses to help pay workers told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more a week and $350 for each employee working less than 20 hours a week. Information is available here.
  • The Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be made available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels three and four for a period of seven days. The support will be provided in two weekly payments for the duration of the alert level period, rounded to the nearest fortnight.  Businesses and the self-employed will need to prove a 40% decline in predicted or actual revenue.

Financial support for businesses

Resurgence Support Payment: This payment is available for businesses affected by any resurgence of COVID-19 and an increase in Alert Levels. Businesses that experience a 30% drop in revenue over a 7-day period will be eligible. Organisations can apply to receive the lesser of: 

  • $1,500 plus $400 per fulltime-equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or
  • Four times (4x) the actual revenue drop experienced by the applicant.

The payment is expected to be of most benefit to smaller firms who are most likely to face additional costs or cashflow issues resulting from the changing Alert Levels.

You can find more information and apply here

Small business cash flow loan scheme (SBCS): Government will provide loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Applications have been extended and are now open until 31 December 2023. You can apply online through myIR (go to the ‘I want to’ section, and select ‘Apply for the small business loan’).

The SBCS will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees. This includes sole traders and self-employed businesses.

Details of the loans include:

  • $10,000 to be provided to eligible businesses, with an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee
  • interest free if the loan is paid back within two years
  • an interest rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years
  • repayments not required for the first two years
  • you must show at least a 30% drop in revenue due to Covid-19, measured over a 14-day period in the past 6 months
  • maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees.

You can use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool to find out more.

Business debt hibernation: This initiative was designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 to manage their debts. Applications are open until 31 October 2021. There is a tool available here that may help you decide if it’s a good option for your business and if so, how to get started.

Business finance guarantee scheme: This scheme leverages the Crown’s financial strength, allowing banks to lend to ease the financial stress on solvent firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible for this scheme, which supports lenders by having Government carrying 80% of the credit risk (with the other 20% to be carried by the banks). Loans can be used for capital purchases and projects relating to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. Applications are open until 30 June 2021. Talk to your bank about accessing this scheme. 

Tax, ACC and excise support: If you’re having difficulties meeting your obligations due to COVID-19, there are various support schemes and options which may assist:

  • Excise support:
    • If you are unable to pay your Excise duty on time due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Customs on revenue@customs.govt.nz (including your Customs client code and due date) to discuss payment options and they will do their best to accommodate.
    • Please note that excise entries must still be lodged in the usual timeframes, as this is a legal requirement. Even if you have difficulty making payment, it is important that you still lodge an entry as that will support Customs to assess payment options. Please contact your local excise officer at the earliest opportunity if you will have difficulty lodging your entry.  
    • Some duty payers may be entitled to a remission or refund on interest and penalties on late duty payments. Find out more here.
  • ACC assistance: ACC has an information portal on support for businesses, available here.
  • Temporary loss carry back scheme: Businesses expecting to make a loss in the 2021 year can use that loss to offset profits they made the year before. Find out more here.
  • Provisional tax: Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021. Find out more here
  • Depreciation and low value assets: Changing depreciation for commercial and industrial buildings from the 2021/21 income year onwards. IRD has also increased the low value asset threshold for depreciation to $5,000 until 16 March 2021 (after that date, it will reduce to $1,000 – which is an increase from $500 before COVID-19). Find out more here (under the heading “Law changes to aid compliance”).

Other support for businesses

Company constitutions or rules: If you are having difficulty complying with the constitution or rules for your business as a result of COVID-19, there are some law changes (which remain in place until 31 March 2021) that offer flexibility. Find out more here.

Employment matters: Employment NZ has dedicated information about employment matters and COVID-19, available here.

Storage space in your Customs Controlled Area: If you run out of storage space for wine at your winery, Customs may be able to issue a permit to remove finished wine from your Customs Controlled Area and store it elsewhere. Contact virusresponse@nzwine.com for more information.

Treasury updates: The Treasury is publishing weekly economic updates, including a dashboard report tracking the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. Find out more, and access the weekly updates, here.

Mental health support

Some tools and tips for looking after your mental health during the COVID-19 crisis are available here. NZW also has a dedicated Health and Wellbeing page with more resources here

If you feel that you or your workers are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, anyone can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.  

[Last updated 17 February 2021]

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