The Government continues to unveil more support for struggling businesses, as frustration begins to boil over in sectors such as tourism, while new ways for New Zealanders to support local businesses are being encouraged. Get all the important news and read the full stories in the links below.
Key developments in NZ
• Parliament has passed the biggest single tax support package in modern New Zealand history as businesses small and large continue to be hit by Covid-19. The reforms – passed under urgency in the House yesterday – provide businesses with more than $3 billion in tax relief. The package takes the total amount the Government has - and is planning to - spend to over $23b. The Government's "recovery Budget" is just over two weeks away, though former Finance Minister Steven Joyce has warned that many employers will be deciding whether to lay off staff next week, so any further business support cannot wait for the Budget. The Government will also provide interest-free loans of up to $100,000 to small businesses grappling with the impacts of Covid-19, while limits on loan sharks have been fast-tracked in an attempt to prevent desperate households getting over their head with crippling high-interest loans.
• There are three new Covid-19 cases today as health officials launch a review into how hospital workers in Auckland were infected with coronavirus. One of today's three cases is linked to overseas travel and one to a known case. The origin of another is still under investigation. The new cases mean a total of 1479 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New Zealand since the pandemic began. Six people are in hospital and none are in ICU. Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay reported that several clusters will be closed, and that while it was "looking very good", there were still cases being reported so people still needed to be cautious.
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• Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he wants to see a trans-Tasman border bubble formed as soon as possible now that New Zealand and Australia ''were beating the crap'' out of Covid-19. He said an arrangement for free movement between the two countries could potentially happen under level 2 conditions here, though it would be dependent on having health guarantees. However, he said the trans-Tasman bubble wouldn't be viable if there was still a mandatory quarantine for two weeks.
• While New Zealand is slowly trying to rebuild the economy at the same time it fights the Covid-19 pandemic, calls for Kiwis to "shop local" and "buy NZ made" continue to grow. For some people, buying local can be tricky as, despite their best intentions, their finances have been impacted by the pandemic. While you may not be able to support small New Zealand businesses with your money right now, that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to help them. Here are a few ways you can support local businesses.
• The level 4 lockdown changed New Zealand forever. Cherie Howie looks at the four weeks that will leave a lasting impact on the nation.
• Air New Zealand has turned 80, and, ravaged by the fallout from Covid-19, is almost back to where it started flying across the Tasman. Grant Bradley looks the history – and current problems - of New Zealand's biggest airline.
• Frustration is boiling over among tourism operators who want to be able to open for business at level 2. Tourism Industry Aotearoa says Kiwis can travel safely within their own country at level 2 and must be allowed to do so, claiming that aviation, accommodation, hospitality, retail and most recreation and tourism activities can all be operated safely.
• ANZ New Zealand boss Antonia Watson says confidence is key to getting New Zealand's economy back on track and the "worst thing" that could happen would be for the country to be forced back into level 4 lockdown again. The head of the country's largest bank believes people's confidence would take a hit if restrictions were increased again.
• The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and given New Zealand the opportunity to attract world-leading businesses to set up within its "safe haven" shores. That's according to a column in global business paper the Financial Times, that says rather than simply providing boltholes for billionaires, like PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, the country should get entire businesses to pack up and move here.
Around the world
• Despite the Covid-19 virus infecting more than three million globally, there are still several countries yet to report a single case – with 33 countries and territories, including many Pacific nations, reporting no coronavirus infections at all.
• An organiser of a North Carolina protest group that has been calling on the state to ease lockdown restriction has tested positive for Covid-19. Audrey Whitlock has been urging residents of the US state of North Carolina to revolt against mandatory self-isolation and social distancing being imposed because of the pandemic. Now, she is under quarantine for two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus.
• Plans are formulating to stage a one-off All Blacks trial between a rejigged Super Rugby and the Mitre 10 Cup this year. Hope springs eternal for New Zealand Rugby that the proposed Super Rugby derby competition can start, possibly by mid-June, and be followed by an immediate All Blacks trial. The mid-June resumption is considered a best-case scenario, and would require the continued progression from alert level 3 to 2 on May 12.