Support for whānau in Northland left without jobs due to COVID-19

By Jessica Tyson, Tapatahi

The rise in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Northland hard but the Ministry of Social Development in the region is working hard to support whānau affected.

Ministry of Social Development's Northland Regional commissioner, Eru Lyndon, has discussed employment in the area and what help is available to affected whānau.

“We’re seeing benefit number starting to creep up here in Te Tai Toerau,” says Lyndon.

To support whānau the service is using the metaphor of a korowai of aroha to process benefit applications, hardship applications for things like kai, and the COVID-19 wage subsidiaries to ensure that people are getting the financial support as quickly as possible.

“In Te Tai Tokerau I’m pleased with the fact that we’re able to process that information on the same day which meant that those who needed immediate need are able to get the basic necessities leading into the lockdown period.”

Lyndon recommends people to get in touch with the service on their website, by calling 0800 559 009 or by visiting their web-based channel for assistance.

“In addition to people calling us, we’re not waiting for people to come to us. We’re outbound calling people, so particularly kaumātua, but we’re working through the groups that we know are going to be a bit more vulnerable through this lockdown period and into the future.”