Weekly Digest – 31 March 2021

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

Southern Vaccination Centre Opened

In just a week, the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) and public health staff managed to set up a vaccination centre in the Meridian Mall in central Dunedin where several thousand people will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The SDHB leased the former H&J Smiths department store for a year to serve as the base of six vaccinators and an administration team. A similar centre will also be opened in Invercargill.

Minimum Wage Rise and New Top Tax Rate Coming On 1 April

The minimum wage will increase to $20 an hour, up from $18.90 an hour. This would mean $44 more each week before tax for those working 40 hours a week on the minimum wage.

The starting-out and training minimum wages will also increase to $16 an hour, to remain at 80% of the adult minimum wage.

A new top tax rate of 39% on individual income earned above $180,000 will also apply from 1 April 2021. This would affect 2% of earners and would add an extra $550 million for the 2021 financial year, increasing to $634 million by 2024.

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.

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.

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

4 Tips to Get Out of Debt

Getting out of debt can be difficult, but there are some strategies that can help you pay it down more easily:

  • Pay more than the minimum payment required– Go through your finances and decide how much extra you can shell out to pay your debt. Paying more than the minimum amount will help you save on interest and pay it completely much faster.
  • Use the debt snowball method– This approach involves paying the minimum amount on all your debts except for the smallest one, which you should pay as much as you can toward. Once you eliminate the smallest one quickly, you’ll move on to the second smallest debt while paying the minimum on the others.
  • Debt refinancing– You’ll save in interest if you refinance your debt to a lower interest rate. Consider refinancing your mortgage, auto loan, or student loan.
  • Commit windfalls to debt– For example, when you get a tax refund or a stimulus check, you can use the money to pay your debt or at least split it 50-50 between debt payment and having fun or saving in your bank account.

Do you want a more personalised debt paydown strategy? Get in touch with us today and let us help you enjoy a debt-free life.

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