Here’s a small selection of news reports from the business media on New Zealand’s nationwide Level 2 and Auckland’s Level 3 move. Remember that for the very latest official updates and resources from NZ Government you can visit the dedicated COVID-19 website.
The NZ Herald paints a cautious picture, claiming: ‘The re-emergence of lockdown measures could sap over $90 million out of the economy - and an Auckland business leader says firms need to know the Government will look after them.’
It quotes Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive Michael Barnett: ‘Many businesses took out loans last year, they were in a process of meeting obligations of those loans and they're going to have no income but they're going to have the cost of staff. The quicker the Government send a signal that there's going to be a subsidy or there's going to be support, the greater the confidence that business can get through.’
Newshub suggests that while the NZ government hasn’t indicated a repeat of the initial loan scheme is in the offing, multiple support payment options are ready to be unveiled.
‘The resurgence support payment - a new one - will kick in if we are at alert level 2 or above for a week or more. Businesses can access it if they have a 30 percent drop in revenue. There's a base payment of $1500 per business - plus $400 extra per employee - up to 50. The maximum available is $21,500.
‘Obviously if we reach the seven day threshold then they get rolled out,’ Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub. ‘It's not even a matter of a decision - it's automatic.’
‘The wage subsidy will also be re-deployed if level 3 lasts more than a week. Businesses could claim both that and the resurgence payment retrospectively. The next 72 hours will count toward the seven day period.’
Stuff reports: ‘Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern… also confirmed that relief would be backdated to the beginning of the lockdown.’ It goes on to say that according to some economists, ‘New Zealand is set for another recession this year’ after it ‘was Zealand was plunged into a recession during lockdown last year but rebounded in the September quarter’.
‘…the economy had weathered the Covid-19 pandemic better than expected so far. The June and September quarters this year were likely to be buoyed by people staying in New Zealand when normally there would be a net outflow.’
Stuff also explained that businesses can apply for travel documents for workers to speed up their passage through checkpoints around Auckland.
‘Businesses that had special exemptions for their workers to cross the border could use Business Connect to get a business travel document for each worker and a QR code.’
1 News highlights the optimism surrounding the arrival into the country of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday 15 February. ‘Details of its arrival were kept top secret for security reasons, but the Prime Minister later confirmed 60,000 doses of the vaccine are now waiting at a new ultra-low temperature storage facility in Auckland.’
It adds: ‘… more promising news emerges around the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine. A study in Israel has found the vaccine reduced the number of symptomatic Covid cases there by 94 per cent. The preliminary findings suggest the vaccine is effective outside the controlled conditions of a clinical trial.’
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