COVID-19 Update from David Kelly

27 March 2020

We hope that your families, employees, and yourselves are safe and transitioning to the requirements of being at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 well. We are working hard to keep you updated on COVID-19. 

What does Alert Level 4 mean?
In order to stop the transmission of COVID-19, Level 4 means that all New Zealanders must stay home unless it's necessary to do otherwise, please do this and we encourage you tell your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. We appreciate that this is a severe disruption to yourselves and your businesses; but we are in a state of national emergency. This means that the police and defence force can arrest you and prosecute you if you do not follow the Level 4 requirements. 

We realise it’s easier said than done, but it is critical that every New Zealander follows this requirement. If we don’t, we could end up staying at Level 4 for longer. We will keep you updated about the status of the alert level and when the Government releases information about changing it. At this stage, there is no guidance as to when the Government might drop the alert level back to 3. 

Government announcements 
This week the Government has made new announcements, including tweaking the wage subsidy scheme. Information about these announcements are below.

Wage subsidy scheme and leave support changes
The Government has made some changes to the wage subsidy scheme, it is now open for all businesses and there is no longer a cap of $150,000 in support and they have folded the sick leave support into the subsidy. We’ve attached links to the following:

Business cashflow and tax measures
IRD also introduced measures to increase cashflow, including increased deductions for low cost items, depreciation being available on commercial buildings and use of money interest (UOMI) able to be remitted on tax payments due on or after 14 February 2020.
This link provides more information about these measures as does the factsheet

Additional Measures
On 24 March 2020, the Government announced further benefits for businesses. Specific details are being finalised and we will forward them through to you once released in the next few days:
A six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and small and medium-sized businesses whose incomes have been affected by the economic disruption from COVID-19. 
Short-term credit to small and medium-sized businesses under a $6.25 billion “business finance guarantee scheme”. The businesses to which these benefits will apply must have a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. There will be a limit of $500,000 per loan and the loans will be for a maximum of three years. 

Essential/non-essential services
It’s been a bit of a movable feast as what an essential service or business is during the shutdown. MBIE has provided more guidance for the building and construction sector. For our members, essential services are those that relate to entities/occupation that are only:

  • involved in the supply of electricity, gas, water, or sanitation
  • involved in building and construction work that’s required immediately to maintain human health and safety at home or at work

MBIE has provided further information this week on their website, which is here.

Members are contacting us about specific situations as to what is and isn’t essential services. We recommend contacting MBIE, who’ll be able to give you advice for each of the specific situations, their email is 

Member guidance for staged residential payments
On Monday we will provide guidance from Hazelton Law about staged residential payments. 

Member only resources
The contact details for member services available are:

  • Member counselling service: 0800 800 397
  • Legal advice: Hazelton Law 04 472 7570
  • Legal advice re employment matters: 027 292 6071
  • Financial Advice: PWC 03 374 3003
  • Insurance matters: AON 0800 266 7622 or

I encourage you to reach out if we can help you through this time. 

Kind regards

David Kelly