Weekly Digest – 23 March 2022

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

NZ to Drop COVID-19 Vaccine Passes and Mandates

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand will do away with vaccine passes and mandates for some of the workforce in early April. High vaccination rates, better data to identify at-risk environments, and modelling suggests the Omicron outbreak would peak in early April.

Transport Subsidies Package

Transport Minister Michael Wood announced road user charges would be cut by 36% for a 3-month period from late April to late July. This is in addition to the 25 cents per litre fuel tax cut, as well as half-price public transport fares for three months starting April 1.

3 Factors Uplifting Confidence in the Economy

  • New Zealand economy expanded by 3% in the December 2021 quarter, after declining by 3.6% in the September 2021 quarter.
  • The government has planned to reopen international borders for all foreign tourists from 1 May and for Australians starting 12 April. International tourism used to account for about 20% of the country’s foreign income and more than 5% of GDP.
  • Auckland is moving past its Omicron peak and might see some relaxation in restrictions in the coming days.

COVID Support Payment

A targeted COVID Support Payment (CSP) will be made available for businesses struggling with revenue during the Omicron outbreak. Each COVID Support Payment will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000.

Digital Invoicing Initiative Launched

Starting 31 March 2022, central government agencies must be able to receive invoices in an electronic format. This marks the first step in making Business to Government (B2G) e-Invoicing mandatory in New Zealand. The government estimates savings of $4.4 billion over 10 years using the electronic system.

Government Extends Events Transition Support Scheme

The government has extended its insurance scheme to give large-scale events financial certainty for another year. Originally due to run until 3 April, the Events Transition Support Scheme will now last until January 2023.

Change in Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is now a weekly payment, instead of a two-week payment amid the change in the periods of self-isolation.

This scheme is available to employers and the self-employed to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

You can learn more about it here.

Events Transition Support Scheme Launched

The Events Transition Support Scheme opened last week, covering 90% of unrecoverable costs for major events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. It will apply to live, in-person paid events with over 5,000 attendees from 17 December until 3 April 2022.

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.

Applications are open until 31 December 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply. Loans will be interest-free if they are paid back within 2 years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of 5 years.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker. You can find the details here.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of support available to businesses.

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