Weekly Digest – 22 December 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward. This is the last weekly digest for the year. We hope you have a relaxing holiday break and we’ll be back with more updates in the New Year.

New Changes in Travel Rules

The government has announced changes to prepare the country for the Omicron variant. Here are some of the key changes in the travel rules for 2022:

  • The three-phase reopening plan will be pushed out to the end of February to provide more Kiwis the chance to receive a booster dose.
  • Those entering New Zealand will need to provide a negative pre-departure test 48 hours before travelling, instead of 72 hours.
  • MIQ will be changed to 10 days with a negative test required on the 9th day before release. Currently, MIQ is 7 days followed by 3 days at home.
  • All countries will be removed from the Very High-Risk country list.

Consumer Confidence Dropped in the December Quarter

New Zealanders are feeling pessimistic about the economy due to rising interest rates and prospects of new COVID-19 variants, according to the latest consumer confidence data of Westpac.

Its consumer confidence index dropped 3.6 points in the December quarter, to 99.1. Any reading below 100 indicates that more people are pessimistic than optimistic about the economy.

How to Get ‘My Vaccine Pass’

The government has launched its vaccine pass or certificates, which allows New Zealanders to download proof that they are fully vaccinated.

The “My Vaccine Pass” will take the form of a QR code that can be shown digitally or on printed paper, allowing venues to check whether a person has been vaccinated or not.

Once you are fully vaccinated, you can access My Covid Record, and make a My Health Account via this website. You will need an email address, password, and proof of identity to create an account.

For those without a smartphone or access to a computer, you may call 0800 222 478 to request a My Vaccine Pass.

Support available to you

Work and Income has a Find COVID-19 Support tool to help you find the support options you’re eligible for.

Change in Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is now a weekly payment, instead of a two-week payment amid the change in the periods of self-isolation.

This scheme is available to employers and the self-employed to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

You can learn more about it here.

Support for Businesses to Transition to Traffic Light System

A payment of up to $24,000 would be available to businesses as they moved into the new traffic light system for managing the pandemic. This one-off transition payment would be activated through the Resurgence Support Payment system and would be available on 10 December.

The payment is at a higher base rate than the current RSP and will be $4,000 per business, plus $400 per full-time employee up to a cap of 50 FTEs. The estimated total cost of the payment is between $350 million and $490 million.

Events Transition Support Scheme Launched

The Events Transition Support Scheme has been opened from this week which will cover 90% of unrecoverable costs for major events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. It will apply to live, in-person paid events with over 5,000 attendees from 17 December until 3 April 2022.

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.

  • When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
  • Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year.
  • Applications are open until 31 December 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within 2 years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of 5 years.

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of support available to businesses.

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