Weekly Digest – 13 April 2022

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

NZ Reopened Borders to Vaccinated Australians

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reopened the borders for quarantine-free travel, nine months after she shut down the short-lived travel bubble with Australia. Travellers from Australia and returning Kiwis must be fully vaccinated and must test negative for COVID-19 prior to departure, upon arrival, and on day six.

New Declaration Form for Travellers

From 31 March 2022, all air passengers to NZ are required to complete a new traveller declaration form which produces a “Traveller Pass” letting them know what they need to do to enter the country. The New Zealand Traveller Declaration replaces the Ministry of Health declaration system.

Three Sectors Shining in the NZ Economy

As the economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic, certain sectors are outpacing others in terms of business performance. These include Financial Technology, Agriculture, and Services. Find out how these industries are pulling up the strings of the country’s economy amid global market uncertainty.

PM Ardern to Lead Trade Mission to Singapore

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit Singapore as part of a trade mission on April 18. The delegates are expected to use the trip to sign partnerships and memorandums of understanding that strengthen bilateral collaboration and innovation.

Business Confidence Worsens

Business confidence and demand worsened in the first quarter of 2022 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy, according to the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s (NZIER) quarterly survey of business opinion. A net 40% of firms surveyed expected general business conditions to deteriorate compared with 28% pessimism in the previous quarter. The manufacturing sector is the least pessimistic, but still faces challenges as the pandemic impacts deliveries.

Fast Tracking Digital Farms

The Ministry for Primary Industries has set aside a budget from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) for research into digital farms. As per Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Aotearoa’s primary industry agency is supporting its digital Farm Environment Plans, which are a pivotal tool to identify and take action on environmental risks on-farm. SFF Futures is contributing $493,500 to the NZ$ 823,500 research project that’s led by a non-profit trust.

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.

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.

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.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.