9 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Govt to announce more economic help for businesses and workers

6:36 am on 9 March 2020

Cabinet will today finalise the next steps in its plan to support businesses and workers hard hit by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson

Grant Robertson says the government is talking to business, unions and industries about the impact of Covid-19. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said Ministers are "actively considering a range of options" that will be discussed in Cabinet today and rolled out this week.

He said initiatives on the agenda will be in addition to the measures already in place, including support for the tourism and fisheries industries, an increase in business support funding, and tax and income assistance through Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development.

"We are taking the necessary steps to best protect the New Zealand economy from the global economic disruption caused by Covid-19 and to position us to successfully come out the other side of it.

"We're in regular contact with business, unions and affected industries about how Covid-19 is affecting cashflow. We're taking a calm and measured approach to this unfolding situation and working alongside affected communities as we respond," he said.

Robertson said the impact of the coronavirus is different to others the economy has experienced in recent years, with an "export shock" having domestic flow-on impacts.

"That means a tailor-made response is required. Industry representatives are telling us they are seeing different effects on different industries in different regions. A one-size-fits-all approach is not what is needed," he said.

Robertson will also meet with the chief executives of New Zealand's major banks today, to discuss what they are doing to support customers.

"It's important that New Zealand works as one to respond to this rapidly changing situation. Our meeting is an opportunity to discuss the range of measures banks are taking, as well as discussing the government's targeted action," he said.

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