Covid-19 hit Kiwi businesses have been thrown a lifeline by the Government, which yesterday confirmed it would foot the bill a $370 million bill for freezing ACC levy hikes.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed there won't be any ACC levy hikes for at least two years to help businesses get back on their feet.
But it comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that the multi-billion dollar wage subsidy scheme would end, as planned, three weeks before the September 19 election and will not be extended.
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And any economic respite in the form of a transtasman travel bubble still appears to be some way off.
Ardern told reporters yesterday that although progress was being made, no decisions have been made about the launch of the much-touted scheme.
But she did say: "We have to make sure we don't sacrifice the freedoms we have, by making unsafe decisions at our border".
This comes as the Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed another Covid-19 case had been caught in isolation in Auckland.
The case is a man in his 20s who arrived from London on July 4, via Doha and Sydney.
He was taken straight from Auckland Airport to the quarantine facility as he had symptoms of Covid-19 upon arrival.
There are 22 active Covid-19 cases in New Zealand, all of which are in border facilities across the country.
The new case brings the confirmed number of Covid-19 infections to 1184.
Fresh off her weekend announcement that the Government-backed small business loans had been extended until the end of the year, Ardern had more good news for businesses at her post-Cabinet press conference yesterday afternoon.
Alongside ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, Ardern promised not to hike ACC levies for businesses and motorists until at least 2022, in a bid to cushion the Covid-19 blow for New Zealanders.
Work and earners' levies will remain at the current levels until March 31, 2022; motor vehicle levies won't be adjusted until June 30 the same year.
As well as this, ACC will delay sending out the invoices it usually sends out in early July until October to give businesses more time to make those payments.
Other invoices issued this year by ACC will also be on hold for three months.
Ardern said the move would mean certainty for businesses, who now know they would be paying the same rate for two uninterrupted years.
She said the scheme would cost the Government just over $370m – $278m to cover the loss this year, and $92.7m the next.
"We are taking a cautious approach in ensuring we do not add any pressure on businesses and New Zealanders where it's not necessary."
Although Act leader David Seymour said this was a good move, he said it raises questions as to why other costs, such as the minimum wage hike, had not been paused as well.
"If the Government understands that doing business is tough right now, and that it needs to reduce the burden faced by firms, it should be actively seeking to reduce other costs on the private sector."
Meanwhile, a top lawyer has been appointed to lead a State Service Sector (SSC) investigation into a massive Covid-19 privacy breach.
The leaked information sent to media, which included details of Covid-19 patients such as where they were staying, was probably deliberate according to Health Minister Chris Hipkins.
Mike Heron, QC, – former solicitor general – has been given until the end of the month to finish the report.
"We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of it," Hipkins, also SCC Minister, said yesterday.