In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions, the Government is providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period, particularly those in Auckland.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the Government is boosting payments to businesses affected by the higher alert levels as the country transitions to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework.
The Government announced a new traffic light system that will come into effect when District Health Boards have 90 per cent of their eligible population vaccinated.
Auckland is currently 14,500 vaccinations short of the 90 per cent target.
Until DHBs reach that rate, restrictions will remain in place.
Because of the continued strain that will place on businesses, the Government has outlined broader support in a number of ways.
This includes a boost in the existing Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) package.
Currently, the RSP is paid at a base rate of $1500 per eligible business and $400 for each full-time employee up to a total of $21,500.
For the payments starting on November 12 this will be $3000 per business and $800 per FTE, up to 50 FTEs. This will make the maximum fortnightly payment $43,000.
"In effect, this means the RSP will be a weekly rather than three-weekly payment as it is now, but for ease of application and administration it will be available in fortnightly instalments," Robertson said.
"We are not changing any settings at this time so payments can be made without disruption."
This enhanced package will be available until Auckland moves into the new framework.
In addition, ministers have agreed a $60 million package for business advice and mental health support will be made available to help Auckland businesses through this transition period.
Businesses will be able to apply for up to $3000 worth of advice and planning support, and then receive up to $4,000 to implement that advice through the established Regional Business Partners programme. This support package has previously been applied to aid businesses in improving their digital capabilities and pivoting during periods of disruption.
As part of the package, $10 million is available for mental health and wellbeing support through a programme to be designed with the EMA and Auckland Business Chamber of Commerce.