As forestry work on the East Coast dries up because of the coronavirus outbreak, people are dipping into their KiwiSaver stores to try and get by.
That's despite the government promising to help with financial assistance for those hard hit. The Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford has been in Tairāwhiti and says he's spoken to people who are struggling to pay their debt and are suicidal.
But he says welfare support is available and people shouldn't need to raid their KiwiSaver.
Nita Blake-Persen filed this report.