16 Feb 2021

Business support changes under urgency in Parliament

1:35 pm on 16 February 2021

Legislation giving businesses support in the event of a longer lockdown will be rushed through Parliament under urgency today.

Fish and chip shops are closed under the Covid-19 alert level four lockdown.

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The Resurgence Support Payment scheme was created last year to help businesses directly affected when the country moves to alert level 2 or above for a week or more.

The scheme, however, has been amended since it was first announced, meaning businesses will have to experience a 30 percent drop in revenue over seven days instead of 14.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the government made the change because it wanted to get money out the door quickly to affected businesses.

Firms will be able to apply for a core per-business rate of $1500, plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 full-time employees.

The support payment recognises some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when alert levels are increased, Robertson said.

"The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders," he said.

If the current heightened alert levels are extended, the government will decide if the payment is to become available. If it does, the payment will cover the cover the initial 72 hour alert level rise as well.

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