The Government has approved almost 80 per cent of all wage subsidy applications that businesses have applied for since the scheme was set up.
Speaking to MPs at the Epidemic Response Committee this morning, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said so far, $10.21 billion has been paid out to 1.65 million workers.
And of the almost 520,000 who have applied, close to 411,000 have been approved by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) – that's an 80 per cent approval rate.
Of the more than 410,000 applications, just 500 have had to refund money to MBIE because it turned out they were ineligible, the committee heard this morning.
Roberson said told MPs the scheme was a "lifeline" for thousands for employees across the country.
But he pointed out that there would soon be more support coming for small businesses.
National MPs on the committee, however, were critical of Robertson's lack of concrete new announcements in this area.
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The party's finance spokesman, Paul Goldsmith, said Robertson needed to provide a more detailed timeline to give some small businesses certainty.
Much of the committee's focus today was around how much economic damage will be done as a result of the extended lockdown.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the level 4 lockdown had been extended until late next Monday.
From there, the country will stay at level 3 for an additional two weeks.
Robertson was not able to say how many businesses the Government was expecting to go bankrupt because of the decision to extend the lockdown.
Minister of Small Business Stuart Nash was not able to say either.
Employment Minister Willie Jackson was not able to provide an exact figure when asked what impact the extended lockdown period would have on unemployment.
But he did admit that for each day New Zealand was in level 4, and subsequently level 3, unemployment would rise.
"It [the overall unemployment level] just depends on how much support the Government is going to bring to the table, which is going to be a lot," Jackson said.
But all three ministers agreed that the impact on businesses as a result of the lockdown extension would be far less than the alternative – coming out of lockdown too early and having to go back up to level 4.
"We continue to believe that the long-term health of the New Zealand economy is best improved by getting on top of this virus, doing it right and doing it once," Robertson said.
Meanwhile, he said the Government was continuing to work on how it can support businesses – specifically when it comes to retail and hospitality operations.
Asked about a Government announcement about a rent-relief package, Robertson said: "We're going to continue to work on that".