April 15,2022

LIFE IN ORANGE
Wairarapa and all New Zealand is now operating in Orange  – this means:

  • There are no more capacity limits for indoor or outdoor setting
  • Face masks are still required for staff and customers in many indoor settings
  • It is no longer a requirement to check vaccine passes but you can still choose to do so

For more information on operating your business in orange click HERE


March 1, 2022

New Financial Support for Businesses Available

COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP)
As of yesterday, February 28th  2022, a new targeted COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP) became available for businesses struggling with revenue during the Omicron outbreak. 
The CSP is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations which have experienced a 40% or more drop in revenue as a result of 1 or more of the following COVID-19 circumstances: 

  • the widespread presence of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community
  • the legislative public health measures taken in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the New Zealand community
  • any business circumstances that are, or are reasonably likely to be, a consequence of the circumstances described above.

Three fortnightly CSPs are available with applications now open for the first payment at 8am on 28 February 2022 for the period starting from 16 February 2022.
Each CSP will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (FTE), capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000.  MORE
 

Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) changes

The following changes will be made to the SBCS before the end of March.
 

Base loan amount increased

The SBCS base loan will be increased to $20,000 (from $10,000). This means the amount that can be borrowed will be $20,000, plus $1,800 per full-time equivalent employee (up to 50 employees). The loan repayment period remains 5 years (60 months).
 

Interest-free period

The first 2 years of existing loans will become interest-free provided the loan is not in default. Interest will apply at a rate of 3% per year on the remaining loan balance from the first day of the third year of the loan period.
 

Existing borrowers can get a top-up loan

Existing borrowers who already have a loan (and have not defaulted on this loan) will be able to apply for a top-up loan. They can borrow an additional $10,000 plus any amount they did not borrow in their initial loan. The top up loan can be drawn down as a lump-sum or as up to 4 smaller instalments over time before the end of the scheme on 31 December 2023.
A borrower who receives a top-up loan will have 2 separate loans, each with their own 5-year loan term and 2-year interest-free period. For example:

  • first SBCS loan – interest-free for 2 years from the date the original loan was made available to them
  • top-up loan – interest-free for 2 years from the date of the first draw down. Any additional draw downs after this will not start a new interest-free period.

MORE


Feb 4, 2022

Business Support Update

Short-Term Absence Payment

With numbers now increasing in NZ of people having to isolate due to Covid-19, here is a summary of the financial support available from MSD and the IRD to help you, your business and employees through the response to COVID-19:

  • This is available to employers to pay workers who follow public health guidance and stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result
  • It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers
  • To be eligible, workers need to be unable to work from home and need to miss work while waiting for their test results

How much?

  • There’s a one-off payment of $359 payment for each eligible worker
  • Employers or the self-employed can apply for any worker once in any 30-day period, unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test

More information and how to apply – Work and Income

Leave Support Scheme

  • This Scheme is available to employers to help pay employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work from home. 
  • It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.

How much? – $600 per week for full-time workers and $359 per week for part-time workers.

How to apply for the Leave Support Scheme – Work and Income

Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)

Under this Scheme the Government provides loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs.
If you’ve previously applied for a SBCS and have fully repaid it, you can apply again.
Applications are open until 31 December 2023. You can apply through myIR.
The small business cash flow loan scheme will provide assistance of up to a maximum of $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
  • 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 six months compared with the same 14-day period a year ago. If your revenue from the same period a year ago was also affected by COVID-19, compare the same 14-day period two years ago.
  • maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees.

Use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool and find out how to apply.
COVID-19: Small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool


Jan 27, 2022

Sign up for Updates on Rapid Antigen Testing and Ordering – Sober Check

Sober Check is a business based in Maungaturoto, Northland, which supplies drug, alcohol and wellness testing equipment.  They are NZ’s largest wholesaler of verified drug and alcohol test kits and supply a wide range of industries such as workplaces, medical, DHBs, addiction treatment and individuals.

Sober Check has set up an email group to circulate updates and availability. Sign up here: Covid-19 rapid test signup This is an entirely free service.


Jan 23, 2022

DOING BUSINESS IN THE RED TRAFFIC LIGHT SETTING

All of NZ moves to the RED traffic light setting at 11.59 January 23, 2022.  Omicron is circulating in areas of Auckland and Nelson, and it is spreading in the community.

Face coverings are mandatory when travelling on public transport, in retail and to an extent in education. Public facilities and retail outlets remain open, with capacity limits.  With a vaccine pass, many businesses and events can have a maximum of 100 people, including hospitality, gyms, weddings and tangihanga.  Without passes, hospitality services must remain contactless and gatherings as above, are limited to 25 people.


Nov 25th

Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System)

At 11:59pm, Thursday December 2nd, all of New Zealand will move to the Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System). Auckland will move to Red. The status of the rest of New Zealand will be announced today, Monday November 29th. 

Business owners will then need navigate the new system and implications on their business and employees.

Covid Vaccination Certificates (CVCs) are mandated for certain businesses (hospitality, events – indoor and outdoor, gyms, gatherings, close contact businesses and tertiary education).

The Government is creating a Covid-19 Risk Assessment Tool to support businesses – due to be live mid December 2021.  An employer can choose to use this tool or complete their own risk assessment.

If the use of CVCs is mandated for your business, you do not have to complete a risk assessment because this is a Government directive.

If you are non-mandated business, you must undertake a risk assessment on health and safety grounds.

CLICK HERE for WORKSAFE’S GUIDENCE on what work requires a vaccinated employee and the WorkSafe enforcement approach.

If you are a business that needs to verify CVC’s, the Ministry of Health has launched a NZ Vaccine Pass Verifier APP – Click HERE for more information and download.

For information on getting your Vaccine Certificate click HERE.

Click HERE for information on how to download your Vaccine Certificate to your phone home screen (Consumer NZ).


Oct 26th

Updated Information

The government’s central resource for COVID-19 business information with updates about COVID-19 and guidance to help businesses. https://www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/


Sept 24th

Wellbeing tips with Westpac Ambassador Sir John Kirwan

Hosted by John Machell (Head of Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Trade, Westpac) and Julie White (CEO Hospitality NZ)

Sir John Kirwan is not only one of the greatest All Blacks to take the field, but one of New Zealand’s best known mental health advocates and a businessman himself. 
Recently Westpac hosted a great discussion with Sir John Kirwan on looking after your mental health and wellbeing as you deal with the uncertainty and challenges facing your business in the current COVID-19 situation. 

CLICK HERE,


Sept 17th

Financial support: Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Support

You can get the Wage Subsidy and the Resurgence Support Payment at the same time.

Wage Subsidy 2021 #3

Applications are open for COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 #3, and will close at 11.59pm on Thursday 30 September 2021.


Sept 7th

New Information on Mask Wearing in Level 2

If you operate heavy machinery or process food using machinery – here are a couple of extracts from the web link below which provide the most relevant guidance for Alert Level 2 at this point in time:

You legally must wear a face covering if you:-

  • Work at a café, restaurant, bar, nightclub, soup kitchen or any other food or drink business in a customer-facing role
  • Work for a close contact service — for example, hairdressers or beauty therapists- Work at a retail store — including those that were operating at Alert Levels 3 and 4

You do not need to wear face coverings if: it is unsafe, for example if wearing one means a driver cannot safely operate the vehicle.

So for example, the butcher should remove the mask before operating the saw if it is unsafe to operate the equipment with one on.

Where possible, its encouraged to wear a face covering – https://covid19.govt.nz/…/protect…/wear-a-face-covering/


Sept 7th

It is with some relief that we move to level 2 as of 11.59pm Tuesday September 7th, albeit with additional safeguards in place.  Pease see below links to essential information in operating in Level 2.  

Alert Level 2 Rules and Information HERE


Sept 1st

An Update on Wage Subsidies

The Ministry has received and processed a significant applications for wage subsidies since applications opened on 20 August. This year, the procedure differs to last year as the applications are for a two-week period.

Applications close for the first two-week period at 11.59pm on Thursday, 2 September. No late applications can be processed – but all applications received before that time will be processed.

Applications for the second-week period open on 3 September.


Aug 28th

Operating a Business at Alert Level 3

As of Tuesday August 31st, 12.59pm The Wellington region and Wairarapa will move to Level 3:

  • If your business requires close physical contact it cannot operate.
  • We recommend staff work from home if they can.
  • Businesses need to display a QR code and have an alternative contact tracing system. We recommend you make sure that people either scan in or provide their contact details.
  • Customers cannot come onto your premises — unless you are a supermarket, dairy, butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
  • Your business legally must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up legally must also be contactless.
  • Basic hygiene measures legally must be maintained. Physical distancing, handwashing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers legally must stay home if they’re sick.
  • Staff legally must remain a minimum of 1 metre apart at all times where practical. We recommend other measures, such as PPE including face coverings, be used where appropriate.
  • You legally must meet all other health and safety obligations.

Ministry of Health has advice for essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.

COVID-19: Personal protective equipment for workers(external link) — Ministry of Health

Doing business at Alert Level 3(external link) — covid19.govt.nz


Aug 23rd

Roundup of weekend announcements from the Government


Mask enforcement – everyone must now legally must wear a face covering, as a customer or an employee involving customer contact, at a business or service operating at Alert Level 4. When it comes to asking customers to wear a mask, the guidance is that businesses should encourage and require mask-wearing, but a business is not be required to enforce a customer to comply with this legal requirement.

Mandatory individual record-keeping under all alert levels, such as scanning QR codes or manually signing in at events and business locations, will be required. UPDATED – The Government has announced that mandatory record keeping will be introduced for busy places and events to ensure quick contact tracing. This will not come into effect until seven days after the next alert level change, and guidance is still being developed. More information is coming regarding which businesses will be affected and what the obligations of businesses versus customers will be.

A commitment that locations of interest will be updated every 2 hours and that significant or urgent locations will be published immediately. 

Childcare is now available for employees in Alert Level 4 businesses and services.  A list of 32 providers, with national coverage, is available for parents to contact. The scheme is for the workers in Alert Level 4 businesses and services, and other exempted services such as fire and emergency and border workers, for those Alert Level 4 workers who do not have childcare in place — parents are expected to use their own private arrangements where possible. 

A reminder – Ministry of Social Development’s Wage Support Scheme is now open, you can apply here, and the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment is also available. Note you cannot get more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time. Inland Revenue’s Resurgence Support Payment will be open from Tuesday 24 August.  

Aug 20th

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021

This information is a guide only. The Wage Subsidy declaration on the Work and Income website has full details of eligibility criteria and obligations, and prevails over any other information.

  • The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy 2021 is open for applications for two weeks from 9.00am, Friday 20 August 2021.
  • Applications can be made through the Work and Income website, https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/wage-subsidy/index.html
  • The subsidy is for two weeks, and the payment rate is $600 a week (full time) and $359.00 a week (part-time).
  • (eg IR number, company name, bank account, employee details including name and IR number).
  • Applicants should check they’re applying for the correct payment. Some businesses apply for the Leave Support Scheme or the Short Term Absence Payment, when they meant to apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021. (Businesses can only receive one of these three COVID-19 payments for the same employee at the same time.)

Eligibility Criteria

  • The eligibility criteria are similar to the March 2021 scheme, including employer obligations and revenue test.
  • It’s important applicants read all the information, including the declaration they are agreeing to, carefully and make sure they comply.
  • The revenue test is a decrease of at least 40%. This means:
    • Businesses need to have had (or expect to have) a minimum 40% decline in revenue in the 14-days since the Alert Level escalation (ie between 17 – 30 August 2021), when compared with their revenue during a typical 14-day period in the six weeks immediately before the Alert Level escalation.
    • Businesses with highly seasonal revenue can compare their revenue to 17 – 30 August 2020 or 2019, if they can show that the seasonal nature of their business makes it harder for them to meet the revenue test using the default comparison period.
  • The decline in revenue must be caused by the effect of the national wide Alert Level increase on 17 August 2021 on their businesses.

After the payment is made

  • If the revenue decline doesn’t eventuate the business needs to repay the subsidy.
  • Businesses will need to prepare and keep evidence to support their declaration (but they don’t need to provide this on application)
  • MSD will complete background checks and target integrity activity. This means a sample of applicants will be asked for proof of revenue decline.
  • If the Government decides to extend the wage subsidy, businesses will need to make another application. At this stage the wage subsidy is only for two weeks.


Aug 19th

A Message from Wairarapa MP, Kieran McAnulty

The Government has activated a number of business support measures to provide certainty to businesses and workers and ensure we get money out the door quickly to protect jobs and keep firms’ operating.
 
The measures include:

The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) which is available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels 3 and 4 for a period of seven days and helps eligible businesses keep paying staff and protect jobs. The rates have been raised to reflect increased wage costs. Please note that even if Wairarapa moves to Level 3 tomorrow local businesses will still qualify for this support because Auckland and Coromandel will be at Level 4 for at least 7 days.  

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support businesses or organisations with one-off costs due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. This is available to eligible firms at the same time as the WSS.  

The Leave Support Scheme (LSS) and Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) rates will also be increased in line with the WSS, as each of these payments is set at the same rate.  

The Government remains well-placed to respond to COVID-19. We have over $1 billion left over from the money set aside for WSS and RSP and if needed, the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund has around $5 billion in it. Our net debt position is much lower than forecast and well below other countries.
 
A strong public health response has given us a strong economic response and put economic activity back to pre-COVID levels. Our response will continue to be based on those principles.

More information can be found on the COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/. I will also be making regular updates on my Facebook page and there is also a Wairarapa COVID-19 updates Facebook page.
 

Detailed information:
The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) allows eligible employers anywhere in the country can apply for the WSS if they expect a loss of 40 percent of revenue as a result of the Alert Level increase announced today. The WSS rates have been increased to reflect the increase in wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020. Businesses will be eligible for $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee, and $359 per week per part-time employee. The Wage Subsidy will be paid as a two-week lump sum. Applications open on Friday 20 August with the first payments usually available after three days. More details are available at https://workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/wage-subsidy/index.html
 
A Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is available if firms incur a loss of 30 percent of revenue as a result of the Alert Level increase. The RSP is worth up to $1500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee, up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees (so up to a total of $21,500). Details can be found at https://www.ird.govt.nz/updates/news-folder/resurgence-support-payment
 
The Leave Support Scheme (LSS) provides a two-week lump sum payment at the same levels as above, to those who must self-isolate and cannot work from home. More information is available at https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/leave-support-scheme/who-can-get-it.html?fbclid=IwAR2kVPKe5HSnSn3vcP-bSHkZueKa4TOjdxFZ1mE4w2fqAlWJEz5mCIBPtPM
 
The Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) provides a one-off (once per 30 days) $350 payment for workers who must miss work due to a COVID-19 test and cannot work from home. Further information about this payment is available at https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/short-term-absence-payment/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3ETsINbNUf9iqowLDaoDsr15e-F9Uvyyyt0XF6VkHALyBNFkvRTiMclP0
 
If anyone is unable to find the information they need for their personal circumstances they are welcome to contact me by emailing kieran.mcanulty@parliament.govt.nz, phoning the Masterton office on 063777186 and leaving a message, or sending me a message on Facebook and my team and we will get back to them ASAP.
 
Kieran McAnulty
MP for Wairarapa
Chief Government Whip
Parliament office: +64 4 817 8766 | Wairarapa office: +64 6 377 7186
Email: kieran.mcanulty@parliament.govt.nz
 
Authorised by Kieran McAnulty MP, 157 Queen Street, Masterton


Aug 17th

At 11.59pm, Tuesday 17 August 2021, everywhere in New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4. 

From what we know so far, this is the right call. While this isn’t what we wanted to hear, and it will be hard, we know that the only way to beat COVID-19 and the potential Delta variant is a swift response, sharp and short lockdown to stop any outbreak. 

Alert Level 4 is about reducing contact between people to essential contact only. 

Here’s what you need to know:
All of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4 from midnight, Tuesday 17 August 2021, for at least three days. Some regions, including the Coromandel, are likely to remain at Level 4 for longer. 

  • All businesses must close to the public, unless they are a supermarket, pharmacy, dairy, or petrol station.
  • People are instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement.
  • Travel is severely limited.
  • All gatherings are cancelled and all public venues are closed.
  • Business premises are closed except for essential services.
  • Educational facilities are closed.
  • Safe recreational activity is allowed in your local area.
  • Further information on doing business at Level 4 is here

Locations of interest
There are a number of locations of interest, throughout Auckland and the Coromandel region. Please see here for the locations of interest.

Financial support for business
The wage subsidy and the resurgence support payments will be made available to all New Zealand businesses that meet eligibility criteria. More details are expected and applications will likely open from this Friday. Click here for more

Wear a mask. Look after yourselves, friends and family, and look after your team.

Kia kaha,
Business Wairarapa