The New Zealand government has worked hard towards releasing certain economic packages to help businesses in and around New Zealand to sustain themselves and to help in balancing the economic distress and the financial strain the country is currently experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

We’re outlining the three key relief packages released by the government to help the country deal with the outbreak economically and financially.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme was introduced by the government shortly before the country entered a lockdown. The scheme was introduced with the agenda to supports employers and their staff to maintain an employment connection and ensure an income for affected employees, even if the employee is unable to actually work any hours.

The subsidy is $585.80 per week for a full-time employee (20 hours or more) or $350 per week for a part time employee (less than 20 hours).

The payment issued by the government will be made as a lumpsum, covering a period of twelve (12) weeks. This essentially means that employers will receive a payment of $7,029.60 for a full-time employee and $4200 for a part time employee.

Businesses that opt in for the wage subsidy scheme are required to note that anyone accessing the scheme must still undertake to pay their employees at least 80% of the pre-COVID income. In case that is not possible in cases where certain businesses have had no activity whatsoever during the shutdown period, must still pay the entire wage subsidy amount to each affected worker. Businesses must also undertake to retain employees during the period of the wage subsidy. In addition to this, the previous separate sick leave payment scheme has also been folded into the wage subsidy scheme.

To know more details regarding the eligibility criteria head on over to, click here.

It is also important to read the declaration before signing up for the wage subsidy scheme and ensure that you match the right criteria, since signing the declaration without meeting the eligibility criteria may have criminal implications.

To learn how to apply for the wage subsidy scheme, click here.

 

Mortgage Holiday Scheme

The mortgage holiday scheme was introduced by finance minister Grant Robertson in collaboration with New Zealand banks, who agreed to give their customers a six-month holiday from paying both the principal and interest on their mortgages, since most kiwis have their income affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, people who opt for the six-month mortgage holiday will add their pending interest during the six-month scheme to the principal amount on their mortgage, which would end up increasing their loan amounts, or extending the period of repayment on these mortgages. It is important to note that the scheme only defers the payments, and that payments be paid once the scheme ends.

It is also to be noted that different banks will have approaches to implementing the scheme, and will have a different assessment criteria for every customer who approaches them based on their suitability.

It is hence prudent for every person, availing of the scheme to note what the terms and conditions that are being offered by the bank while implementing the scheme for one of their customers.

These are the list of banks which are working with the government on the holiday mortgage scheme:

  • ANZ Bank
  • ASB Bank
  • Westpac
  • BNZ

 

Business Finance Guarantee Loan Scheme

This $6.25 billion dollar scheme leverages the crowns financial strength, allowing banks to lend in order to ease the financial stress on solvent firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme seeks to provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress caused by the pandemic. Banks will continue using their own lending criteria when lending to SMBs/ SMEs, and will not be dictated by the government.

The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates. The scheme is also only available to financially solvent firms (i.e. firms whose assets are greater than their liabilities).

The Government will also underwrite 80% of individual bank loans to SMEs, with banks stated to underwrite the balance 20% of it. This means that in the event of a loan default, the government will bear 80% of the losses that come with it, while banks will bear the other 20%.

 

These are some of key measures which have currently been undertaken by the government to help in the economic fight against COVID-19. We’ll be updating this blog space as and when updates are made on any of the above schemes and will detail the proceedings so you can be informed.

 

For any queries regarding the above schemes, or information regarding their application procedures, you can get in touch by emailing us your queries on info@jzr.co.nz or call us on +64-9-972-2236, and we’ll respond to you as soon as we can.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Rowain Pereira

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