Weekly Digest – 2 June 2021

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

New Zealand’s Travel Bubble Pause With Victoria Extended

New Zealand has extended its travel bubble pause with Victoria until 7:59 pm on 4 June (Friday), as the new community COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs continues to grow.

The New Zealand government has implemented new pre-departure testing measures on 31 May from 11:59 pm. Under new restrictions, travelers flying to New Zealand must now return a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure if they have been in Victoria on or after 20 May. Those who have been to Victoria since 7.59 pm on 25 May will not be allowed to travel to New Zealand.

Australians must keep evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result at all times. Failure to produce evidence could result in being denied boarding or being subjected to penalties upon arrival in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, everyone in New Zealand who has visited the Greater Melbourne area since 20 May will be tested and required to isolate at their residence until they receive a negative COVID-19 result.

Victoria entered into a lockdown last Thursday to curb the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout 9% Ahead of Targets

Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said New Zealand’s vaccination plan is on track and around 668,115 doses had already been administered. Overall, the vaccination programme is 9% ahead of its targets. The Northland, which had struggled to hit its targets early in the rollout, managed to break even.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said it was encouraging to see the vaccine rollout go ahead of schedule and that it will further ramp up in July and August. Vaccine stocks are at 216,000, with an additional 49,000 due to arrive in the coming week.

Central Bank Says Stimulus Needed Due to Pandemic Uncertainties

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said that it would prefer to have monetary stimulus in place for a longer period as the implications of COVID-19 are not yet over. The central bank held interest rates last week, but hinted that an increase may occur as early as September next year.

$500,000 Support For Flood-Affected Farmers

The government has unlocked $500,000 in funding for farmers and growers affected by flooding in the Canterbury region which has declared a state of emergency. The money will be used to speed up the recovery of farming businesses through recovery grants and will also fund wellbeing support and specialist technical advice.

Pandemic Fatigue Sets In: Consumers Want Good Service Without COVID Excuse

Data from Customer Radar, which records customer feedback from some of New Zealand’s largest retailers, show consumers have gone from being empathetic to demanding good service from businesses as pandemic fatigue sets in.

This finding points to the fact that a sense of normality has returned for most Kiwis, and this places pressure on retailers and service providers. Business owners should be aware that many consumers right now are nervous about price increases, frustrated by products not available due to shipment delays, and are less empathetic towards poor customer experience compared to last year.

The key to addressing these issues is communication. Ensure that you’re listening to customers and responding to them.

Training Incentive Allowance to Support 16,000 Kiwis

The government is bringing back the Training Incentive Allowance to support 16,000 New Zealanders to retrain and gain higher skills. An investment of $127 million will be given over four years from the COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund to reinstate this program.

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.

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.

Debt Management Tips for Entrepreneurs

When building a business from the ground up, you may get to a point where you need to take on some debt in order for your business to take off or grow. This Forbes article differentiates good debt from bad debt, shares some ways to avoid bad debt, and provides some tips to manage debt.

Below is an overview of the effective debt management tips for entrepreneurs shared in this article:

  • Analyse your budget regularly– Know where your money is going and find ways so debt won’t get accumulated.
  • Identify the most appropriate sources of financing– Typically, there are two primary sources of funding for small business owners: debt from banks and financial institutions and debt from family and friends.
  • Consolidate debt payments– Combine short-term loan payments into a more significant debt payment to preserve the business’ credit score. If your debts are piling up, try to negotiate with creditors to set a more reasonable credit limit.
  • Create a contingency plan– Establish a contingency plan in place and have enough liquid assets to repay huge liabilities.

Financial assessments, proper debt management, and growth plans are important to run a successful business. Need help getting a grip on your business finances? Book a one-on-one consultation with us today!

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