Help with money
If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.
Work and Income can help with urgent costs like:
- accommodation costs, for example rent or mortgage, board, emergency housing, moving house
- repairs or replacing appliances
- emergency dental treatment
- emergency medical treatment
- water tank refill.
You can also call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.
Guidance for those under financial stress
If you're worried about your ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 you should contact your bank or finance company as soon as you can.
Banks and other lenders will work with customers who are struggling financially. Borrowers have a legal right to ask for changes to their repayments. There are a range of options available to help you through this time.
Budgeting and financial guidance
The government-funded services Sorted and MoneyTalks can help with budgeting or other financial guidance.
Sorted can help with tips, guides and tools support online or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're worried about the costs of your power bills, talk to your retailer about other options such as moving to a more affordable plan.
If you're vulnerable, in financial hardship or medically dependent, you should tell your retailer.
Wage subsidy schemes
Wage subsidies will be available if there is an escalation to Alert Level 3 or 4 anywhere in New Zealand for 7 days or more. They support workers who are financially impacted by COVID-19.
COVID-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021
Applications for the Wage Subsidy March 2021 closed on 21 March 2021. It helped employers to continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the rise in Alert Levels on 28 February 2021.(external link) (external link)
Closed wage subsidy schemes
COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment
If you’re staying at home because you’re waiting on a COVID-19 test result and you cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment. This payment is also available to self-employed people.
The payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:
- cannot work from home, and
- need to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result.
This must be in line with public health guidance (external link)
A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. Your employer can apply for it once for you in any 30-day period. However, they can apply for it again if a health official or doctor tells you to get another test.
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for businesses to help pay employees who need to self-isolate for other reasons, and cannot work from home.
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
If you need to self-isolate and you cannot work from home, your employer (or you if you are self-employed) can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.
The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating. This includes employees on casual contracts.
The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:
- $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
- $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.
Employers, including self-employed people, and employees need to meet certain criteria to apply for the Leave Support Scheme.
If you need to miss work to stay home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result and cannot work from home, your employer could apply for the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment.
As the impact of COVID-19 increases, experiencing job loss could be a reality for many. If you’ve lost your job or you run a business and are faced with laying off your employees, there may be support options available to you. Work and Income offer a range of information and support to employees who are made redundant.
Work and Income has also information for employers who are considering redundancies.
COVID-19 Income Relief Payment
You could apply for the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment before 14 November 2020. It was to help you if you lost your job from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19.
Protection for renters and tenants
If you're renting and are struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible for support to help you stay in your rental property.
There was a freeze on rent increases which meant landlords could not increase rent for their rental properties. The freeze on rent increases ended on 25 September 2020.
Mortgage repayment deferral scheme
New Zealand’s retail banks are able to defer repayments for some mortgages until 31 March 2021. This applies to:
- residential mortgages
- agriculture loans, and
- SME loans.
You have to be financially affected by COVID-19. These loans will not be viewed as being defaulted.
If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you may be able to defer principal and interest payments on your loan. Banks and customers have flexibility over the term of any deferral. However, the Reserve Bank’s concessionary loan guidance will expire on 31 March 2021.
This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.
Key details of this scheme
Interest on these loans will still increase, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan.
Banks will assess each customer that asks for a deferral. The Reserve Bank’s guidance is that lenders should only approve a deferral if:
- there’s a need for it
- there’s a benefit to the borrower, and
- the lender thinks there’s a reasonable chance of that customer resuming payments when the deferral period ends.
Banks will have different approaches to how they manage the process for customers to opt into a mortgage deferral. Those details, including eligibility criteria, will be available on bank websites.
Customers should contact their bank for further details or queries about the scheme.
NZ citizens and residents living in Australia
Access to Australian superannuation
All New Zealand citizens and permanent residents living in Australia, who meet the Australian Government’s eligibility criteria, will now be able to access up to AUD$20,000 of their Australian superannuation.