Weekly Digest – 3 November 2021

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

NZ to Start Easing Travel Restrictions

From November, travelers from Pacific countries such as Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu won’t be required to quarantine on arrival. The 14-day hotel quarantine period will also be cut to seven days for fully vaccinated travelers from overseas, with a plan to move to a system of home isolation by 2022.

Starting 1 November, all foreign nationals entering the country will need to be fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated travelers from New Zealand to certain areas in Australia has resumed on 1 November, as the country prepares for a partial reopening of its international borders.

Lockdown in the Northern Region

Part of the Northland region has been placed into Alert Level 3 lockdown, over fears of an undetected community transmission of COVID-19. The decision to seal off the area will be reviewed on Monday.

NZ Hits Two Vaccination Milestones

The Ministry of Health announced that two “vaccination milestones” were reached, as 75% of eligible Kiwis nationwide have now been fully vaccinated.

On Saturday, 42,000 vaccinations were administered, while 80% of Auckland’s population are now fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country will move into a new traffic light system to manage COVID-19 once every health board region achieves 90% fully vaccination rate.

NZ to Ratify Trade Agreement with Asia Pacific Nations

Final steps are being completed for New Zealand’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Trade Agreement which will extend trade rules across the Asia-Pacific region. Aside from useful market access benefits for New Zealand exporters, other commitments in services and investment will add to the rule book for trade and investment with Asian countries.

Buy Now Pay Later Market Expected to Grow

The New Zealand Buy Now Pay Later Markets Report 2021 showed Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payments in the country are expected to grow by 58% annually to hit US$ 771.9 million in 2021.

The strong growth over the last four quarters was supported by the increase in ecommerce activity combined with the impact of economic slowdown due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. The BNPL payment adoption is expected to grow steadily, recording a compound annual growth rate of 27.4% during 2021-2028.

Please get in touch with us for tailored financial advice for your situation.

Building Green Hydrogen Fuelling Stations in North Island

Hiringa Energy is investing $50 million to build the four green hydrogen fuelling stations along key transport routes in the North Island. The stations will be located in Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, and Palmerston North.

The funding was supported by a $16 million loan from the government through the COVID-19 Recovery Fund.

Cybersecurity Attacks on Small Businesses Double

In the past three years, cybersecurity attacks on New Zealand small businesses have doubled.

The 2021 HP New Zealand IT Security Survey found cybersecurity attacks on small businesses doubled compared to 2018, with 54% of respondents seeing evidence of security breaches in their workplace in the past year.

This is despite mid-market businesses nearly tripling their investment in IT security over the past three years. With businesses facing an average cost of $159,000 per attack, 37% of respondents reported increasing their investment in cybersecurity amid the pandemic.

Support available to you

Work and Income has a Find COVID-19 Support tool to help you find the support options you’re eligible for.

If your business has to close temporarily or reduce opening hours

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy

The Wage Subsidy August 2021 is available to eligible businesses in New Zealand affected by the continuation of Alert Levels 3 and 4 from 17 August 2021.

Businesses and self-employed people must meet the decline in revenue tests to be eligible to receive the wage subsidy.

The wage subsidy is paid in a 2 week lump sum. You can get:

  • $600 per week for each full-time employee
  • $359 per week for each part-time worker retained.

As an employer you must pass on the full wage subsidy to your employee. If the wage subsidy is more than your employee’s pay, you can continue to pay them at their normal rate.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme on the Work and Income website.

COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment

The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps cover wages and fixed costs for businesses who have been directly affected when there is an increase to Alert Level 2 or higher for a week or more.

To be eligible, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to the increase in Alert Levels.

You can receive $1,500 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (FTE), up to 50 FTE. If you’re a sole trader, you can receive a payment of up to $1,900.

Applications for the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment are open. You need to apply through Inland Revenue. Businesses anywhere in New Zealand can apply if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more information about the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and how to apply here.

If your business has reduced revenue

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.

  • When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
  • Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year.
  • 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.

IRD tax assistance

If you’re finding it hard to meet your tax obligations, Inland Revenue may be able to help. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Insolvency relief

The COVID-19 Business Debt Hibernation scheme allows businesses to get a month’s protection while they talk to their creditors.

If an employee needs to self isolate

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If an employee cannot work from home while self-isolating, you may be able to apply for financial support so they can continue to get paid.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2 week lump sum at the rate of:

  • $600 a week for full-time employees
  • $359 a week for part-time employees

You cannot get the Wage Subsidy August 2021, Leave Support Scheme and Short-Term Absence Payment for the same employee at the same time.

If an employee is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 rest

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 $350. 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.

Training Incentive Allowance

The Training Incentive Allowance can help with tuition fees, books, childcare, equipment, transport and any additional caring costs while studying. It’s available for courses at levels 1-7 of the NZ Qualifications Framework. Visit the Work and Income website to find out who’s eligible, how much you can get and who can apply.

Get in touch

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

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