Support for businesses


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


Government rules

The Government has set the rules for which shops and businesses are allowed to be open around the country. These are called Essential Businesses. Check out the Doing Business at Alert Level 2 page​ on the ​Unite Against Covid-19 website.​ This site is updated with additional decisions and exemptions which have been made or granted by the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

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​.

If you are uncertain about whether or not your business can continue to operate, you can find out by emailing​ or calling 0800 22 66 57 (9 am to 5 pm).  ​​​​

Golden rules for business at Alert Level 2​

  1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of customers at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses. 
  6. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction for example workers, contractors or customers. Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.​



​Government Support packages

The Government  has instituted a support package for businesses, including a Wage sub​sidy schemeProtection for renters and tenantssupport around costs, Redu​ndancy supportBusiness cash flow and tax measures, income support, and further investment in the health response, Support for Māori communities and businesses, and a Government Helpline.  Find the information on all of these finanical support at the NZ Government COVID-19 website.​​

View the full Economic Response Package information and factsheets here​. ​​


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.


Treasury releases new 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


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​.  ​​​

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.  Details will be released shortly.

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

For information on Tax Relief, check out the Tax relief page​ on IRD website.  

Business Finance Guarantee and Mortgage Holidays

The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank announced a major financial support package for businesses and home owners affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Information is available at the website



​​​Information for Landlords

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

Other sources of information​

BusinessNZ recommendations for managing Covid-19 risk in the workplace: get the Checklist of h​ealth and safety, quarantine, monitoring and information requirements for businesses​ here.​​

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 
  •  Business Central 
  •  Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce 
  •  Otago Southland Employers Association 
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.​

BusinessNZ has launched the Update podcast to give you the essential business news you need direct from the source.  Listen to for frequent updates from host Grant Walker relevant to your business.

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 websiteThis 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.​

Local Support

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

Otago Chamber of CommerceLevel 3 Public ​Trust Building
442 Moray Place 
03 479 0181​​
Regional Business Partners​​
03 479 0181​
Oamaru Business
Tourism Waitaki8 Itchen St
Waitaki Tourism

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 on​line 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/bu​sinesses 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.  ​


Latest Regional Business Partner webinars and funding

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.​ 

Please register on the Regional Business Partner Website and one of the team will be in contact. P​lease understand that demand for this support is significant and that the RBP team will get back to you just as soon as they can. ​​​

Monday 11th May 2020,  2pm

Join our latest webinar on Export. If you have lost your traditional income streams then going online may be a good option. Che Bliss from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will talk about their role in helping businesses in export as well as Amazon specialists Sell Global talk about how to enter the export market online. ​

Join us to learn how New Zealand brands are launching and succeeding online. With traditional channels struggling, pivoting to online channels including marketplaces like Amazon is a smart decision. Hamish Conway of Sell Global will share why Amazon may work for your brand, the steps to launch and how to be successful on the platform. 

Register in advance for this webinar here. ​

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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.


Primary Sector​

Essential support business in the primary sector

Primary sector Support services and inputs considered to be essential include the types of businesses listed at

Please note that this is an indicative, not exhaustive list.  It must be read in conjunction with the essential services list at: Essential businesses – Government

Guidance is going out to farmers about managing under meat works’ capacity restrictions. See 31 March 2020 joint B+LNZ and MIA update to farmers.​

Winter feed is a national challenge with many farmers having stock depopulation as an animal welfare requirement. Messaging to farmers needs to provide reassurance that industry support agencies are aware of the freezing works capacity issue and encourage farmers to develop a feed plan, and contact with winter grazing contract holders immediately, if these are in place. 

Industry groups and MPI have launched a stock feed planning service for all farmers nation-wide. Toll free numbers – Drystock farmers call 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352), dairy sector 0800 4DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969. They will help you work out how much feed farmers need, what needs to be done and how they can go about it. If needed, more in-depth support is available for a fee.

See the joint media release​ by with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, Deer Industry Association, AgFirst, and Federated Farmers​.​

MPI’s COVID-19 & Primary Industries FAQ webpage​Industry and MPI are also preparing advice about the 1 June dairy “Mooving Day” changes, and it will appear in these FAQs soon (and will also be promoted by industry groups and Fed Farmers in the usual way)

Shearing has been identified as an essential service as necessary on an animal welfare basis. If farmer clients have shearing or crutching work that is essential then shearing contractors should register their business with MPI, and follow a set of Covid-19 operating procedures, a declaration form and Famer declaration form which focus on protecting shearers on​.

Rural Support Trusts: 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) continue to provide its psychosocial support service by talking over the phone or on skype/zoom during lockdown. They can help connect farming families with professionals including farming or business advice, suppliers, financial information, health, and counselling services. Their services are free and confidential, and they can still make connections while NZ is self-isolating. ​

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) now needs assurances from industries and businesses that their processes protect workers and the public by limiting interactions and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.

As an essential primary sector business or service, MPI requires busineeses to complete this form UNLESS:

  • There are five or fewer people (including the owner) working at each business site, and
  • can achieve social distancing measures, including travelling, to and from work.​​

Registration is via

​ ​​

Migrant Workers

Under the Epidemic Management Notice, visas have now been automatically extended for 85,000 temporary visa holders in New Zealand whose visas were to expire between 2 April and 9 July.

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.​

Tourism Sector​

  • 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 t​wo 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​  


Page reviewed: 22 May 2020 3:36pm