The Government won't be extending the Resurgent Wage Subsidy to cover the extra four days Auckland will now be in alert level 3 lockdown for.

On Monday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the alert level 3 would extend to midnight Sunday, instead of ending at midnight tonight - four extra trading days.

Finance minister Grant Robertson told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning said the Government had already forked out for 22 weeks of wage subsidies for businesses.

"We have had 22 weeks of support for businesses through the wage subsidy scheme - about 12 and a half, if you are in Auckland, will have been at alert levels 2 and 1.

"Yep this is a tough time for everybody, I absolutely accept that, but I think if you look at the level of support all of which we have to borrow as a Government - I think if you look at that support over that period of time it has been a significant amount."


The 22 weeks includes the initial 12 week wage subsidy, the eight week extended wage subsidy and the two week resurgent wage subsidy.

Robertson said the Government had moved quickly to offer the resurgent wage subsidy when Auckland moved into alert level 3.

Applications opened for the subsidy on Friday and he said as of last night about 30,000 business had been paid out $108 million.

That comes on top of the $13.2 billion paid out between March 20 and August 14, according to statistics on the Ministry of Social Development website.

It estimates 278,736 jobs were being supported by the wage subsidy as of August 14.

Some $389.2 million has also been repaid by employers.

Robertson said much of the subsidy covered periods of when the country was at alert levels 2 and 1 where trading was good for businesses.

"We have seen our ability to get down to those levels is the best thing we can do in terms of supporting businesses and so overall I think the contribution is significant.


"But I don't underestimate how tough a second set of restrictions like this is."

He said at level 3 about 80 per cent of businesses were operating at the level they wanted to and 20 per cent were not.

"And it is tough for that group but there has been a huge amount of support and that funding is available right now."

Robertson said for a 40-employee business that would mean $46,000 in subsidies were available.

He said the Government was focused on getting the country into a position where the economy was able operate well.

Robertson pointed to the strength of trading in July where retail sales were 2 per cent up compared to the same period last year.


"The initial pent-up demand was certainly there but I think most commentators were saying we were coming out better and stronger and that remains our approach is to get on top of this particular outbreak and get ourselves back into a normal trading environment or as close to normal as we can nowadays."