There aren't many bright spots in the economy at the moment but one of them is mānuka honey, so why are companies involved in that sector applying for support from the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme?
According to MBIE's website, NZX-listed Comvita, the country's biggest mānuka honey exporter, paid 16 employees $103,984 from the scheme as of May 3.
In South Island, Oha Honey, part of Ngai Tahu Capital and another of country's biggest producers, 129 employees were paid $906,818 from the scheme.
Several other mānuka honey companies are receiving support, despite a bumper mānuka honey harvest and booming demand, which producers say is linked to consumers being more health conscious in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
About 95 per cent of New Zealand's mānuka honey production is exported.
The wage subsidy scheme is aimed at supporting employers who have been adversely affected by Covid-19, so that they can continue to pay their employees.
To be eligible for the wage subsidy businesses must declare that they have had a 30 per cent revenue drop due to the pandemic and that they will retain named employees for at least the duration of the subsidy.
Comvita - the country's biggest mānuka honey exporter - after being in the doldrums for the last two years - has seen its share price more than double since announcing in March a strong lift in online sales.
Chief executive David Banfield said Comvita had taken up wage support to cover the employees from its three retail outlets at Auckland Airport, Quay St Auckland, and its head office outlet at Paengaroa, near Te Puke.
"As a result of no one coming through airports, and clearly the stores not being able to open, we claimed for the 16 people who worked for those three outlets that otherwise would have closed," Banfield told the Herald.
Without the scheme, Comvita would have been forced to close its stores, he said.
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"This way around we can hopefully be in a position to re-emerge, once we get back to some kind of normality - whatever normality means - to reopen those outlets," he said.
The scheme had enabled Comvita to retain its staff and "hopefully" return them to active employment with the company.
While Comvita's domestic tourism-based operations had clearly taken a hit, international demand for product had remained strong, he said.
The country's second biggest exporter, Manuka Health, which employs 200 people in New Zealand and 40 abroad, said it had not sought support because the sector had enjoyed a strong season and a lift in demand.
"Our view is that the industry is doing very well," chief executive Ben Boase told the Herald.
Manuka Health is now owned by Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group, part of the Hong Leong Group, after being sold by Pacific Equity Partners in 2018.
Among the smaller operators, Abeeco had taken up $35,148 for five employees, according to the MBIE site.
Jude Salisbury, managing director of online retailer ManukaHoneyofNZ.com - part of Abeeco - said there had been hefty increase in online demand for product, particularly for the higher UMF grades, but that Abeeco's wholesale operation had suffered.
"Many of the mānuka honey companies that we work with, where they have a poor online presence and have largely been focused on the inbound tourist market, are well down.
"It's only those with an online presence and those that have been able to actually get products to their destination where there's been a big increase in sales," she said.
Abeeco Ltd owns the Abeeco brand and ManukaHoneyofNZ.com, supplies skincare products to the inbound tourist market, supplying the likes of DFS, Arataki and Remarkable Gifts in Queenstown.
"Since mid January in January we have done only 7 per cent of the wholesale business that we have done in previous years," she said.
Mānuka honey companies who have received wage subsidy support, up to May 3.
Oha Honey: $906,818 for 129 employees.
ManukaMed: $91,384 for 13 employees.
Go Healthy NZ: $279,724 for 41 employees.
Egmont Honey: $191,169 for 28 employees.
Representatives from each of the mānuka honey companies approached by the Herald were either unavailable for comment, or declined to comment.