Businesses in Auckland and other areas under higher Covid-19 restrictions will get more help, the Government announced today.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said: “While the ongoing restrictions in Auckland are keeping people safe, we also know they have made life very tough for businesses in the region.”
Ministers have therefore agreed to boost the Resurgence Support Payment. After the next scheduled payment on October 29, the payments will move to fortnightly at double the current rate until Auckland is able to move into the new traffic light framework.
Auckland will be able to leave lockdown when 90% of people in the region are fully vaccinated.
The region's mayor Phil Goff welcomed the extra support and said it had come after discussions with businesses.
Currently the RSP is paid at a base rate of $1500 per eligible business and $400 for each full-time employee up to a total of $21,500.
For the payments starting on 12 November this will be $3000 per business and $800 per employee, up to 50 employees. This will make the maximum fortnightly payment $43,000.
The estimated cost of this and the wage subsidy is up to $940 million per fortnight through this transitional period.
The Wage Subsidy will continue to be available on the current criteria while areas of the country are still in Alert Level 3.
Final details of the support to be provided under the new framework will be agreed in November, Robertson said.
“My expectation is that because businesses will be able to operate at all levels of the framework, the wage subsidy and the RSP will be reworked to a new targeted payment at the Red level of the new framework,” Robertson said.
Ministers have agreed in principle that there will be other transition payments made available to support businesses when they move into the new framework.
And there will be a $60 million package for business advice and mental health support will be made available to help Auckland businesses through this transition period.
Mayor Goff said: "Auckland businesses that can’t operate normally—or at all—under the current restrictions are struggling.
"I have advocated strongly to the government for more financial support for otherwise viable businesses that might not survive further lockdown extensions."
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash said the measures are designed to support Auckland businesses to deal with the uncertainties caused by the Delta outbreak.
“This will help build more resilient businesses, improve the ability to operate when Covid-19 restrictions are in place and position businesses better to seize future opportunities.”