As I write, Omicron cases have just doubled again and the Southern region has the second highest infection rate after Auckland.
Local businesses are at the heart of our community and to help those that have been hardest hit by Omicron, we’ve put in place new financial assistance.
Over the past two years, New Zealand has pulled together to save lives and livelihoods. We went into 2022 with some of the lowest rates of Covid cases and deaths in the world and with a stronger than expected economy. That’s a testament to the hard work of everyone in our community and across the country, but I know it hasn’t always been easy for businesses in the Taieri electorate, including Clutha.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has prioritised protecting jobs and livelihoods through support such as wage subsidies, the Resurgence Support Payment, targeted packages for the events and arts sectors, and other initiatives.
Now, we’re providing a new payment for businesses whose revenue has been affected by Omicron. The Covid Support Payment will be available to businesses that have been hardest hit, to be paid fortnightly at a rate of $4000 per business, plus $400 per full›time employee, up to $24,000. Applications open on February 28, and you can visitto see if your business is eligible.
In addition, we’re increasing the funding available through the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, with a top›up loan available to businesses that have already accessed support, and making the first two years of every loan under the scheme interest›free. Inland Revenue has also extended the flexibility on tax payment dates and terms, to assist firms with cashflow pressures.
These measures are designed to support businesses that find themselves under the pump with Omicron and, along with our Close Contact Exemption Scheme, will help our hard›working business community to get on with the job and our economic recovery to accelerate.
Keeping people safe and well has always been at the heart of our Covid response, and it’s still our central goal. We’ve just delivered additional support to help self›isolating families who need extra assistance to access the services they need. With increased funding for food banks, community connectors, and other providers, we’re ensuring our response leaves no›one behind.
With this extra support for whanau and businesses, we’re working to ensure people feel safe and our economy keeps moving through this next phase.
Thanks to everyone in the Taieri electorate who has stayed the course, even though it has been hard at times. Your mahi means we’re well›placed to take on Omicron.