Auckland International Airport (AIA) has applied for, and been paid out, $4.3m under the wage subsidy scheme as the fallout from the global Covid-19 outbreak sees air traffic plummet.

And Harvey Norman is one of the larger recipients, taking up $12.7m for its 1850 employees.

All your wage subsidy questions answered

According to an online tool released by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) yesterday, AIA is the only company listed on the NZX50 to have been paid out under the scheme.


The scheme allows employers to claim $7,029 in payments per worker to cover 12 weeks of employment.

The site said the company had applied to cover 632 employees and received a payment of $4,335,182.

So far over $7 billion has been paid out.

Over the past fortnight Air New Zealand slashed its number of flights by 95 per cent as demand for travel plummets and governments around the world introduce travel bans to try and contain the epidemic. Prior to the outbreak AIA handled in excess of 400 flights a day, but this daily total under lockdown is now just a handful.

In response to the crisis, AIA announced yesterday it was seeking to raise an additional $1.2b to shore up its balance sheet. This follows the suspension of work on constructing its second runway.

Other large business taking up the subsidy include retailers Kathmandu (601 staff, $3.6m paid out), Harvey Norman (1850, $12.7m), Kmart (2077, $12m) and Trade Me (591, $4.1m). Forestry firm Juken has recieved $3.7m to subsidise 531 employers, and miner Oceana Gold got $6.1m to cover 983 staff.

Today Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said payments made under the scheme covered more than a million workers and it was likely the total cost would exceed $10b.

MSD said at the launch of its tool that "publishing this information makes sure that payments under the scheme are transparent and that the scheme is accountable to the public."


The lack of other large companies on the register - Air New Zealand and TVNZ last week announced they were applying - suggests the tools results are presently patchy or their applications are still being processed.

The Herald is also aware of a number of other cases where companies had received the subsidy but did not show up on the public register.

MSD said in a statement high demand for the register had seen it crash, but capacity issues had recently been resolved.

"We would also like to remind people that the current list isn't the complete list of employers," the statement said.

MSD said the current register included only payouts to recipients with more than five employees and a trading name.

"Due to the volume of data needing to be uploaded we have needed to do it in stages. It is a big task and we ask you to bear with us as we work towards a full list." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website