Wage subsidy to support NZ businesses re-opens

By Te Ao - Māori News

Business owners around Aotearoa will be breathing a sigh of relief as the government re-opens the Wage Subsidy at 1pm today.

Many businesses, especially in the tourism and hospitality sectors have suffered major losses or have had to close due to the shutting down of borders and lockdown levels.

In January this year, Air NZ reported a loss of $185 million for the second half of 2020 and a spend of $1 billion in cash reserves.

When the country first went into lockdown from March 26 to April 3 last year, Amber Reid of Ngāti Maniapoto and her partner, Willis Alatini, moved home from across the Tasman to open a new gym called The Cobalt Club in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).

Willis Alatini and Amber Reid, owners of The Cobalt Club.

The couple spoke to Te Ao Tapatahi this morning about the challenges they faced to keep their start-up business afloat amid the pandemic.

"We're from New Zealand but we were living in Australia too so it made it a bit harder to make the move," Reid says.

"When we got here we had to do the whole two weeks in lockdown. It just made things more difficult."

Reid says she and her partner Willis have put in all of their savings to go toward their new business and are building a solid client base.

 But she says her business will be looking at the Wage Subsidy eligibility status to see if they can apply.

To qualify for the wage subsidy, businesses need to have shown a 40% decline in revenue over a 14-day period between February 28 and March 21, compared to a typical 14-day period between  January 4 and  February 14 (six weeks before the first lockdown this year).

The wage subsidy is a payment to support employers and self-employed people, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs.

For staff whose jobs have been affected by the lockdown, payments will be $585.80 per week for each full-time employee and $350 per part-time employee.

Payments for the Wage Subsidy will begin from Monday 8 March. For more details go here.