Weekly Digest – 10 March 2021

Welcome to our Weekly Digest, a summary of this weeks news.  Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Pfizer: NZ’s Primary Vaccine Provider

The government will buy an additional 8.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, bringing the total order to 10 million doses– enough to vaccinate the entire population.

The decision to make Pfizer the primary vaccine provider of NZ was made after it was shown to be 95% effective. The government started to roll out the vaccine last month and expects to vaccinate all Kiwis by the end of the year.

NZ Opens First Big Vaccination Clinic

NZ has opened its first large vaccination clinic in South Auckland, where initially about 150 people per day will get vaccinated, and then rapidly increased. Over the next few weeks, two more clinics will be opened in Auckland.

NZ Manufacturing Sales Rise in Q4 2020

Manufacturing sales volumes rose by $142 million to $26.8 billion in the December 2020 quarter, according to official data from Statistics New Zealand. This represents a 0.5% increase from the September 2020 quarter.

Volumes for dairy and meat products, the biggest export earners, were relatively steady at 0.1% below the September 2020 volume after adjusting for price effects.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Payments Started This Week

Applications for the wage subsidy opened last week and payments started to flow on Monday.

This scheme allows employers to continue paying staff and protect jobs that may have been affected with the recent alert level changes.

You can apply to cover the wages of your employees over a 2-week period, and claim $585.80 per week for each full time employee or $350 per part-time employee.

Who can apply

New Zealand businesses who have had or expect to have a 40% decline in revenue over a consecutive 14-day period between 28 February and 21 March, compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021 (6 weeks before the change in alert levels), may be able to get it.  Businesses with highly seasonal revenue will be able to compare their decline in revenue to the same period of 14 consecutive days in 2020 or 2019.

The eligibility criteria can be found here.

Information

Apply for the Wage Subsidy March 2021 using an online application form. Applications close on 21 March at 11.59pm.

You can’t apply for the same employee twice. You can only apply for employees you haven’t already applied for.

We also have the Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment available to employers. You cannot get more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time from MSD.   Steps on how to apply are for the wage subsidy are laid out here.

Resurgence Support Payment

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is for businesses or organisations with reduced revenue due to a COVID alert level increase to level 2 or higher.

Applications are currently still open to businesses and organisations affected by the alert level escalation on 15 February 2021. The last day for applications for this event is Monday 22 March 2021. Applicants must demonstrate that their decline in revenue is for this alert level period.

Applications are open to businesses and organisations affected by the alert level escalation of 28 February 2021. Applicants must demonstrate that their 30% decline in revenue is for this alert level period.

Businesses and organisations that have experienced a 30% revenue loss as a result of both periods at higher alert levels will need to make 2 applications by choosing a start date. They would be eligible for 2 RSP payments if they meet the criteria.

Learn more about eligibility and which businesses can apply for this support here.

Short-term Absence Payment

This is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who can’t work from home and meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19 or are a ‘close contact’ who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2-week lump sum per eligible employee.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme here.

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme Open Until June

Business Finance Guarantee loans can help small and medium businesses access credit for cashflow, capital assets and projects related to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

All New Zealand registered banks and non-bank deposit takers (non-banks) are eligible to apply to join the scheme.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to access credit from either a participating bank or a non-bank, but not both.

If you borrow from a bank, it will determine the amount you can borrow and the length of the term up to a maximum of $5 million payable in five years. Meanwhile, if you borrow from a non-bank, the maximum amount is $3 million payable in five years. More information on eligibility criteria and how it works can be found here.

Applications for Business Finance Guarantee loans are open until 30 June 2021. If you need assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.  Go on and check it out.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Fixed Assets

On 17th March 2020, the government announced that for one year, any assets purchased for a business under $5,000 (exc GST) can be expensed in the year it is purchased.  This means the full cost of that asset can be claimed as a deductible expense in that period.

As this was only a short term adjustment, this is due to finish on 16th March 2021 (yes next week) and the threshold reduces to $1,000 (exc GST) from that point on.  If you are planning any fairly large purchases prior to 31 March 2021, now might be a good time to do so.   More on this here.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions regarding support available or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

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