Weekly Digest – 14 April 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Ardern to Border Workers: Get Vaccinated or Be Redeployed

Border staff have until the end of April to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Otherwise, they will be redeployed to lower risk roles, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. This comes after a third worker from Auckland’s Grand Millenium isolation facility tested positive for the virus.

The vaccine programme started in February, with border staff and managed isolation facility workers prioritised for the Pfizer jab.

Reserve Bank Keeps Official Cash Rate at 0.25%

The Reserve Bank has chosen to keep Official Cash Rate at 0.25% and kept the settings for its quantitative easing programme and its $25b Funding for Lending programme unchanged. This is after economic activity in New Zealand slowed over the summer after the earlier recovery in domestic spending.

However, the bank expects that the opening of the travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia starting 19 April will support employment and income in the tourism sector.

Tourism Infrastructure Fund Now Open

Applications for the Tourism Infrastructure Fund are now open, especially in areas under pressure due to COVID-19.

Between $13 and $18 million will be available, and five South Island regions namely Kaikōura, MacKenzie District – Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland, and South Westland will be given priority.

Applications will close on 30 April at 5 pm. You can read more about it here.

Non-Bank Lenders Join Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

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

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.

This loan scheme is now available to five non-deposit-taking lenders including these Financial Services Federation Members:

  • UDC Finance Limited
  • Prospa NZ Limited
  • FlexiGroup (New Zealand) Limited
  • Speirs Finance Group Ltd

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

Free Online Digital Training and Support Tool

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise, in partnership with The Mind Lab and Indigo, has launched a free training and support services to help businesses develop their digital capabilities.

More than 9100 small businesses are already taking advantage of these solutions through DigitalBoost.co.nz. This includes providing support on cybersecurity and fraud prevention.

Meanwhile, if you want more focused software integration advice, you may also get in touch with us so we can assist you in getting the right tech in place.

Beware of COVID-Related Scams

CERT NZ (Computer Emergency Response Team) is once again seeing an increase in COVID-related scams as the vaccine rollout ramps up.

The scams involve getting a phone call advising the vaccine is available for $49.99 and requesting people to enter credit card details. Another scam asks people to go to a website where they can ‘vote’ to be eligible for a jab.

In the previous week, there were also reports of an email scam claiming to offer money for taking a survey on the Pfizer vaccine.

Keep in mind that the vaccine is free for all Kiwis. So if you receive requests for payment or financial information, you may report it here or call 0800 2378 69.

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.

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.

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

What Causes Your Profit Problem?

Do you ever feel stuck in your business? After all the time and effort you’ve put into it, your revenue seems to have plateaued or maybe has even decreased. If you’re having a profit problem, it can be a sign of a deeper issue that needs to be fixed.

Below are the three key areas that you should look into:

  • Products or services– Are your customers happy with what you’re offering? Listen to what they have to say and make the necessary improvements.
  • Systems and structure in place– Next, evaluate if you’ve put a good structure and systems in place. As your business grows, some systems you created in the beginning may no longer work. Also ask your staff for their opinions as they may draw insights on issues you didn’t know existed.
  • People and company culture– Did you hire the right people for the job? Are you lacking key talent that could potentially boost your business performance? Also, take a good look at the company culture you’ve created. You may be surprised to find out that you have fostered an unsustainable working environment full of inefficiencies, disarray, or burnout.

While some business challenges are out of your control, it’s important to first cross out possible issues that are within your control. The good thing about finding out that the cause of your profit problem is something internal is that it also means that you have the power to fix it.

Need tailored business advice? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about your specific situation.

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