Today Cabinet agreed to increase the putea put aside to pay the wages of those out of work. There is now $9.3 billion budgeted to help Aotearoa kaimahi and whānau.
This comes as the Government prepares to put the country on level 4 COVID-19 restrictions in the next two days. This means that all but essential services such as food supply, emergency, health, media and defence will be put on hold. Whānau not working in these essential services are required to stay home at all times, unless they need food, fuel or health services.
With people being unable to work, the Government has frozen all rent increases. The Reserve Bank and Government have agreed in principle to work with banks to provide temporary assistance for mortgage holders and provide business finance guarantees. The Finance Minister and Social Development Minister issued a statement confirming this news.
Finance minister Grant Robertson says:
“We have a chance to beat this virus as we step up our public health response.
We know this will have significant impacts on the economy, and we are doing what it takes in response to this rapidly changing situation.”
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says that the MSD is ready to make the wage subsidy payouts and will endeavour to start making payments as soon as possible.