Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
Vaccination Roll-Out Update
As of Tuesday, 95% of the eligible population aged 12 years old and above have had a first dose of Pfizer. Of those people, 92% have also had their second dose.
When can you get your booster?
- The required gap between the second dose and booster was shortened from 6 months to 4 months.
- You can either go to a walk-in vaccination centre from 5 January or book in via Book My Vaccine. Slots will be available from 17 January.
- You can also call COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, seven days a week) if you can’t book online.
As of Wednesday, 594,947 boosters had been administered. This is a long way short of the approximately 1.5 million people who are now eligible. This is partly because boosters are not bookable until next week. So expect an increase in vaccination rates from next week.
NZ- Cook Islands Travel Bubble to Reopen
Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Cook Islands will resume on Friday, five months since the Cook Islands government barred all tourist flights due to the Delta outbreak in Auckland.
Travellers must be fully vaccinated and will have to take a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before departing.
NZ Records Smallest Working-Age Population Gain Since 2012
New Zealand posted the smallest increase in its working-age population in nine years last year, adding signs of a labour shortage that could drive up inflation and wages.
The number of individuals 15 years old and above who could work increased by 26,500 to slightly more than 4.1 million in 2021, according to Statistics New Zealand. This is the smallest gain since 2012 and compares to a 70,500 increase in 2020.
As borders have been closed to foreigners since March 2020, and labour shortages have begun to stoke wages and fuel faster inflation, the Reserve Bank has started to lift interest rates.
Travel Rules for 2022
The government has announced changes in travel rules to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Some of the key changes include:
- The phased border reopening will be delayed to the end of February to give more New Zealanders the chance to receive a booster dose.
- All stays in MIQ are extended to 10 days instead of 7 days followed by the requirement to self-isolate at home for 3 days after leaving MIQ.
- Currently, there are no countries classified as very high risk.
- From 7 January, all travellers entering New Zealand will need to provide a negative pre-departure test 48 hours before travelling, instead of 72 hours.
Support available to you
Work and Income has a Find COVID-19 Support tool to help you find the support options you’re eligible for.
Change in Leave Support Scheme
The Leave Support Scheme is now a weekly payment, instead of a two-week payment amid the change in the periods of self-isolation.
This scheme is available to employers and the self-employed to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:
$600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
$359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.
You can learn more about it here.
Events Transition Support Scheme Launched
The Events Transition Support Scheme opened last week, covering 90% of unrecoverable costs for major events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. It will apply to live, in-person paid events with over 5,000 attendees from 17 December until 3 April 2022.
Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.
- When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
- Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year.
- Applications are open until 31 December 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.
Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within 2 years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of 5 years.
COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
The Short-Term Absence Payment 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 $359 for each eligible worker. You can find the details here.
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 support available to businesses.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.