Support for businesses

1. Overview

The COVID-19 New Zealand Government website has information on financial support and help for businesses here:

Unite Against COVID - Click for more information

2. Government rules

New guidance has been released about workplace activities at different alert levels. See information which addresses some frequently asked questions as well as examples of what each alert level might look like for different kinds of businesses here.

3. Golden rules for businesses

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  2. If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.
  3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  4. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  5. If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  6. If you’re concerned about your wellbeing, or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.
  7. Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen to help contact tracing if needed. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy way of doing this.
  8. Businesses should help people keep track of their movements by displaying the Ministry of Health QR Code for contact tracing.
  9. Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.
  10. People will have had different experiences over the last couple of months. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.

4. Mid & South Canterbury and North Otago Regional Apprenticeship Initiative

The applications for the Mid & South Canterbury and North Otago Regional Apprenticeship Initiative are now open. Financial support is now available for new apprentices.

Venture Timaru is administering this initiative to promptly support our local businesses in the RAI priority sectors of Primary, Construction, Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering & Wood Processing.

Full RAI criteria, as well as applications, can be made direct to the Venture Timaru website.

Important to note that when applying, your application will only submit if all requested information is completed and all required documentation is attached.

Should you have any queries at any stage please do not hesitate to email details of your specific query to or ring 03 687 2682.


The website was launched to connects New Zealanders to the wide range of supports and advice available through government agencies to help workers and businesses dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

There's information on apprenticeships, job hunting, jobs, training and business support:

6. Government Support packages

The Government has instituted a support package for businesses, including a Wage subsidy scheme, Protection for renters and tenants, support around costs, Redundancy support, Business cash flow and tax measures, income support, and further investment in the health response, Support for Māori communities and businesses. Find the information on all of these finanical support at the NZ Government COVID-19 website.

View the full Economic Response Package information here.

7. COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme, announced as part of the Government’s economic response package to COVID-19, has been modified. The scheme helps businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 restrictions to pay workers for an extended period of time. The scheme will be open to sole traders and the self-employed as well as firms. The modified Wage Subsidy Scheme will support 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. It is also available to employers who recently let employees go because of COVID-19, provided they re-hire those employees.

8. COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy

A 2-week COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy payment will be available nationally for employers, including self-employed people, who are financially impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 and changes to COVID Alert Levels. Find more information at website.

9. Treasury releases economic modelling report

14 Apr 2020

Treasury has released a new report describing a number of scenarios showing the potential impact of COVID-19 on the New Zealand economy. The scenarios consider paths that the economy may take depending on the time spent at different COVID-19 Alert Levels and also consider the impact of additional fiscal support.

Read the economic scenarios report on the Treasury website

10. Business Cashflow and Tax Measures

Depreciation deductions will be reintroduced for new and existing industrial and commercial buildings, including hotels and motels. This will help support businesses with cashflow in the near-term and assist with the broader economic recovery by stimulating business investment in new and existing buildings.

View the full fact sheet here.

11. Tax relief for businesses

Small businesses in New Zealand will get a $3 billion boost through tax breaks to help them ride out the worst of the impending economic crisis. Businesses forecasting losses will be able to claim cash payments against tax previously paid on profits. Check out IRD COVID-19 page for tax relief and income assistance available to people affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19.

Tax Update for Business For information on Time Bar for 2019 income tax returns from The Inland Revenue Department visit the IRD website.

12. Information for Landlords

What landlords and tenants need to know, find more information on the Tenancy services website.

13. Other sources of information

Advice and support for businesses concerned about the risk or impact of Covid-19 is available through the Business NZ Network throughout the country:

  • EMA 0800 300 362
  • Business Central 0800 800 362
  • Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce 0800 50 50 96
  • Otago Southland Employers Association 0508 656 757

Exporting businesses are asked to keep in touch with their local organisations (ExportNZ) as above and share information on impacts on their export orders as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. More information for exporters is on Businesses are asked to keep data on the effects on their business operations and impact on financial results, from the Covid-19 pandemic. This will help inform a coming review by MBIE into the effects on business of the pandemic.

14. NZTE Marketplace & Air Freight Availability

Some New Zealand companies currently need or have extra resources which are being underutilised. ("Resources" might include workforce, materials, technology, manufacturing capacity, storage, freight, and so on). NZTE have created an online matching platform to allow New Zealand businesses to connect with other New Zealand businesses that may need or have extra resource at this time. This is for urgent or timely requests or offers that have come about due to the disruption in the businesses supply chain. It is not meant to be a directory of generic business support services, nor is it about supply of medical equipment to government. The Marketplace is organised into sector/solution forums such as freight, temporary storage, supplies, business services and staff availability, and will adapt to show more categories as required. The site is live here, and can also be accessed via our dedicated website

If you are an exporter who would like to take advantage of available air freight capacity, please view NZTE’s Flight Availability website. This will be updated with current air freight capacity to a number of international destinations, as well as contact details for the relevant freight forwarder. In the first instance, exporters should contact the relevant freight forwarder.

15. Local Support

A number of organisations support the local business community with advice and connections to other businesses.

Business Address Website Contact
Otago Chamber of Commerce Level 3 Public Trust Building
442 Moray Place
03 479 0181
Regional Business Partners Network
03 479 0181
Oamaru Business Collective
Tourism Waitaki 8 Itchen St
Waitaki Tourism Association


The Otago Chamber of Commerce is providing assistance to all businesses, whether members of the Chamber or not. It provides a range of services, including online webinars on dealing with the Covid19 situation, and delivery of the Regional Business Partner programme which connects business to relevant professional service providers. Find a description of the business assistance available.

The Oamaru Business Collective provides a forum for Oamaru based businesses to exchange information and provide mutual support.

Tourism Waitaki and the Waitaki Tourism Association provide advice and support to tourism- and hospitality-related businesses. Tourism Waitaki is sharing urgent industry information as it comes through for accommodation providers/businesses regarding visitor information and pandemic information, as this is fed through to us from national bodies such as Tourism New Zealand, TIA, Tourism Export Council and Regional Tourism New Zealand.

16. Latest Regional Business Partner Support Options

The Otago Regional Business Partner Network is available to support businesses through COVID-19. The service is funded by government and delivered by the Otago Chamber of Commerce. Their job is to discuss key business challenges with businesses and link you with the support that is available at this time. They are running webinars to support businesses to understand the various support packages available.

  • RBP Growth Advisors will chat with you about your specific business situation and let you know what support is available.
  • Tourism Transition Fund (100% funding support for advice) is still available for eligible businesses who operate in the tourism sector and who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. This fund offers advice to eligible businesses in areas such as marketing strategy, digital enablement, business continuity, cashflow and finance management, HR, health & wellbeing and hibernation.
  • COVID-19 Advisory (100% funding support for advice) and Management Capability (50/50 capability building scheme) funding is currently fully allocated for Otago.
  • Business Mentors New Zealand For a registration fee of $295 + GST, you’ll have up to 12-months access to a Business Mentor who will help you develop your business and yourself as an owner. The Business Mentor provides support by sharing the skills, knowledge and understanding for what it takes to succeed in business. Register here
  • Business Mentors needed If you’re interested in sharing your time, knowledge and experience on a voluntary basis with someone who would benefit from your skills and experience please email
  • Callaghan Innovation Grants We can support you to access advice and funding to activate innovation in your business.

To find out how we can support you, register here to speak with a Growth Advisor.

17. COVID-19 Advisory Funding

The Regional Business Partner Network has been given additional government funds to support businesses through COVID-19. Our focus will be to assist with funding for businesses to access 1-1 support with professionals in the following areas:

  • HR
  • Health and Wellness
  • Business Continuity Planning
  • Finance and Cashflow Management

Businesses will be able to access up to $5000 (ex gst) in funding to fully fund advice in the areas above. We hope to distribute this fund to as many businesses as possible so allocations are unlikely to be to this maximum. This will be managed by the growth advisors and will be at their discretion.

Business Eligibility:

Businesses will need to have registered on the RBP Platform and met with an RBP Growth Advisor to access this support.

Businesses will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have undergone an assessment with a Regional Partner (i.e. Growth Advisor);
  • Have fewer than 50 full time equivalent employees;
  • Are registered for GST in New Zealand;
  • Are operating in a commercial environment; and
  • Are a privately owned businesses, or are a Maori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Maori assets under multiple ownership.
  • The Growth Advisor needs to be satisfied that this support will be beneficial to the customer.

18. Migrant Workers

The Immigration NZ website has been updated with new information for Settlement service providers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), community groups, or individuals who work with or know recent migrants and/or former refugees.

19. Tourism Sector

Stay Connected

  • Tourism New Zealand

TNZ will be working closely with the central government to re-design what New Zealand’s tourism industry will look like. Make sure you receive Tourism New Zealand’s industry newsletters and updates.

  • Tourism Industry Aotearoa

TIA is keen to stay in touch during this period, including those who have who may have temporarily or permanently lost their job with their most recent tourism employer. Register for updates here

  • Tourism Talent and Go With Tourism

These two organisations have formed a partnership to assist the New Zealand tourism and hospitality industry bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19, when New Zealand moves into the recovery stage. They are creating a searchable database of CVs from people in the sector who have been made redundant including frontline talent and mid-level and senior roles. CVs can be sent to