The Government will spend $330 million on ensuring high priority goods, such as milk and meat and medicine, are still able to be exported by air freight as the country goes into level four lockdown.

The money is part of the Government's $600m aviation rescue package; $270m of that was allocated to airports and airlines last week.

The $600m package was one element of the Government's wider now $16.3 billion overall economic support package.

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Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the second component of this package, announced today, was critical for high-value exporters.

At this stage up to $330m of the aviation support package will be allocated to:

• Ensuring air freight capacity is available on key routes for at least the next six months.

• Dealing with immediate risks and opportunities as they arise in the aviation sector.

Twyford said the Government was working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand's key air freight channels remain open for high priority goods.

"We recognise how important it is to continue the flow of critical imports like medicine, and also support our exporters to ensure New Zealand is well-placed to respond to the recovery when it comes," Twyford said.

He said the rest of the world still wants New Zealand's food products such as milk and meat.

"So it's critical that part of the economy is able to continue exporting and keep employing New Zealanders during the lockdown – maintaining freight services is essential to that."


The scheme is proposed to run for at least six months.

The Government expects, at least initially, the money would be made by way of grants.

But it would likely to move to other forms of support over the period of the scheme.

Airlines and air freight businesses have been invited to submit proposals to the Government to apply for the support funding.

Twyford said proposals would need to cover how critical imports of medicines, medical supplies and high-value exports will be prioritised, and prices to be charged.

He said he was already seeing great examples of the sector working collaboratively.

"And I expect this to continue. We also expect some of these proposals to include repatriation of passengers."

Twyford also revealed that Cabinet has agreed to fast-track immediate funding to ensure urgent freight services are not disrupted. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website