Financial support

In response to COVID-19 the Government is acting to support people and the economy with a $12.1 billion support package. 

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).

For advice, support and general enquiries please contact 0800 22 66 57 (8 am – 8 pm, Monday–Friday)

Wage subsidy scheme

New Zealand employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 are eligible to apply. This includes:

  • registered charities
  • NGOs
  • the self-employed and sole traders
  • contractors
  • registered charities
  • incorporated societies, and
  • post-settlement governance entities.

Employers, contractors, sole traders and the self-employed, may qualify to get the COVID-19 wage subsidy.

To qualify:

  • the business is registered and operating in New Zealand
  • employees are legally working in New Zealand
  • the business has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19. There are special rules for new businesses and high-growth firms
  • the business has taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
  • the business must retain covered employees in employment for the period of the subsidy.

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week.

Employers must make best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their normal income. Where that is not possible – in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours – employers must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker. If a person’s income is normally less than the subsidy, they can be paid that normal salary.

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum to the employer to pass on to employees and covers 12 weeks per employee.

The wage subsidy is a Government payment to help employers pay wages. It does not change any other employment law obligations, meaning employees must be paid appropriately under their employment agreements for the hours they work during the lockdown.

Read more information, including how to apply, on Work and Income(external link)

Updates to the wage subsidy scheme

Leave Payment

From 3pm on 27 March 2020, the COVID-19 Leave Payment is no longer available for employers. Applications already submitted will continue to be processed and paid.

The Government is working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to COVID-19.

Redundancy support

If you’ve lost your job or are a business 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 being made redundant.

Find out more on the Work and Income website(external link)

There is also information for employers who are considering redundancies.

Read details on the Work and Income website(external link)

Protection for renters and tenants

Support is available to ensure renters stay in their rental properties with a 6-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having tenancies terminated.

It's important tenants do not face the prospect of homelessness during this challenging time. This will also enable families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, and support the public health of all people in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has more information(external link)

Mortgage repayment holiday scheme

New Zealand’s retail banks are offering to defer repayments for all residential mortgages for up to 6 months for customers financially affected by COVID-19.

Mortgage repayment deferrals mean that affected customers who apply to their bank will not make principal and interest payments on their loans for up to 6 months. This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to provide assistance to affected customers.

Key details of this scheme:

  • It’s important to know that interest on these loans will still accrue, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan.
  • Banks will assess the suitability for each customer who is asking for a deferral.
  • 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.

Worried about money?

Help with essential costs

If you’ve lost your job, can’t work at the moment or your income has been reduced, you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.

If you’re struggling to meet your living costs or had an unexpected bill we might be able to help you, even if you’re working.  Even if you don’t think you qualify, contact us to talk about your situation.

We may be able to help with urgent costs like:

  • food
  • accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board)
  • power, gas and water bills or heating
  • medical and dental costs
  • bedding.

You can find more information about financial support (including eligibility criteria) on Work and Income(external link)

Guidance for those under financial stress

People worried about their ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 should contact their bank or finance company as soon as they 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. A range of options are available to help.

The government-funded services Sorted and MoneyTalks can help with budgeting or other financial guidance.

Sorted can help with offers tips, guides and tools support online or you can contact them via email at office@sorted.org.nz.

Read more information on the Sorted website(external link)

Follow Sorted on Facebook(external link)

View helpful videos on the Sorted YouTube channel(external link)

You can also talk to financial mentors at MoneyTalks via phone 0800 345 123, text 4029 or email help@moneytalks.co.nz.

Read more on the MoneyTalks website(external link)

Support for Māori communities and businesses

The Government has developed a plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19.

This includes a whole of government approach to providing health, social and economic support tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori.

This includes:

  • a Whānau Māori Community and Mārae package reprioritising $10 million from the Māori Development vote to support community outreach
  • Māori Health and Whānau Ora response with $30 million targeted directly to Māori Health services and an extra $15 million to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies
  • supporting Māori Businesses and engaging with Māori with $1 million of funding to enable a needs assessment for Māori businesses, and $470,000 to Te Arawhiti to engage and work with iwi on their COVID-19 pandemic response plans.

Read the media release (beehive.govt.nz)(external link)

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

The Government and the banks have agreed to implement a $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee Scheme to support otherwise viable businesses impacted temporarily by COVID-19 through this unprecedented time.

The specifics of this initiative are being finalised and agreed urgently and details of the Scheme, and when it will be available, will be made public in the coming days.

Business cash flow and tax measures

Business cash flow and tax measures include: 

  • increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021 
  • increasing the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 — and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year 
  • allowing depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings from 2020/2021 
  • removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) from 1 July 2020.

Read more information about COVID-19 tax relief measures at ird.govt.nz(external link) 

Wider $12.1 billion package

Other elements of the $12.1 billion package include income support, and further investment in the health response.  

Read about the wider $12.1 billion package at treasury.govt.nz(external link)

Government helpline

This website is the fastest way to find help and advice about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand.

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, don’t know who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).

For advice and support for essential businesses please contact 0800 22 66 57 (9am–5pm, Monday–Friday).

Last modified: