23 Mar 2020

Support package for Covid-19 rises to $9.3b

5:06 pm on 23 March 2020

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the business support package for Covid-19 is now worth $9.3 billion.

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson.

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Robertson said self-employed people and businesses that are less than a year old will also now be eligible for help.

He also announced Cabinet will remove the $150k wage cap for all businesses.

A number of measures will be taken to make sure people can cope, including no rent increases and support for mortgage holders, Robertson said.

During the current alert level, landlords will not be able to terminate tenancies without a reason.

Robertson assured New Zealanders they will continue to receive some form of income while the country is in lockdown.

He told reporters work was urgently underway to secure Kiwis' incomes - and more details would be unveiled in the coming days.

"To employees and employers: take the time to work through your options. Get in touch with your bank and make a plan," he said.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said he supported the new business support package "entirely".

Auckland business association Heart of the City told RNZ many businesses are worried about paying their fixed costs.

Chief executive Viv Beck said paying rent and wages is a big concern for those in retail and hospitality.

She said businesses can contact Heart of the City for information on government assistance.

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