Financial support

Help is available if you're experiencing financial distress.

COVID-19 financial support tool

You can use the COVID-19 financial support tool to find out what financial help may be available to you.

The tool will take you, step by step, through a series of questions to find out your personal circumstances:

  • Your work status, for example lost job due to COVID-19.
  • Your situation, for example business is unable to operate.
  • Whether your workplace has reduced business.

The tool will then tell you what financial help and support you could access, and where you can apply or find more information.

Use COVID-19 financial support tool

Help with money

Essential costs

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:

  • food
  • accommodation costs, for example rent, mortgage, board, emergency housing
  • repairs or replacing appliances
  • emergency dental treatment
  • emergency medical treatment
  • water tank refill.

Financial support, eligibility criteria, and how to apply (external link)

Work and Income call centres are experiencing very high demand at the moment, so we recommend you check its website first.  If you don’t have access to the internet you can 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. A range of options is available to help.

Budgeting and financial guidance

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 email it 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. Call 0800 345 123, text 4029 or email help@moneytalks.co.nz.

Read more on the MoneyTalks website (external link)

Power bills 

If you're worried about the costs of your power bills due to COVID-19, talk to your retailer about other options, such as a moving to a more affordable plan.  

If you're vulnerable, in financial hardship, or medically dependent, you should tell your retailer.

Electricity Authority advice to save on power bills (external link)

Redundancy support

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.

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

Work and Income has also information for employers who are considering redundancies.

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

COVID-19 Income Relief Payment

The COVID-19 Income Relief Payment is another option for people who have recently lost their jobs.

You may be eligible if you lost your job (including self-employment) from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020, due to the impacts of COVID-19. You can get up to 12 weeks of payments to help with living costs and give you time to look for other work.

It offers:

  • $490 a week if you lost full-time work
  • $250 a week if you lost part-time work.

You can apply for the payment from 8 June 2020.

More information and how to apply (external link)

Tool to connect employers and people looking for employment

The Keep New Zealand Working online recruitment tool connects job seekers directly to the employer making it quicker and easier for people to find work. The tool also provides online training courses.

Work and Income’s online Recruitment Tool (external link)

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. Help could include a 6-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having your tenancy ended.

It's important tenants don't 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 everyone’s public health.

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

Mortgage repayment deferral 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.

If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you will not need to make principal and interest payments on your loan for up to 6 months. This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.

Key details of this scheme:

It's important to know that interest on these loans will still increase, 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.

Support for Māori communities and businesses

Māori communities and businesses can access help tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori in the face of COVID-19. These include:

  • a Whānau Māori Community and Mārae package reprioritising $10 million from the Māori Development vote to support community outreach
  • A 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 Government’s media release on beehive.govt.nz (external link)

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