We answer your questions about Covid-19 in South Waikato

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Businesses

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Individuals

FAQ’s about how Covid-19 affects business.

This Powerpoint provides the answers to some frequently asked questions around tax and business support, including wage subsidies.

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What are WorkSafe’s guidelines for operating safely under Alert Level 2?

Implementing or maintaining infectious disease controls remains vital to the health of your workers and visitors to your business. WorkSafe has laid out their Alert Level 2 guidance here.

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How does Covid-19 impact on how I prepare my financial statements?

Audit New Zealand is preparing bulletins to provide high-level guidance to audit committees and those who are responsible for the preparation of financial statements, performance information or annual reports. The first bulletin is available here.

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What support packages are banks offering to help my business get through the lockdown?

New Zealand banks are ready to respond to the impacts of coronavirus, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and New Zealand Bankers’ Association say. (link to NZ Bankers Association).

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I’m an employer. Where can I download COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and Leave Application Forms from?

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I’m self-employed. Where can I download COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and Leave Application Forms from?

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My business has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, we are struggling to keep afloat. Is there anything the Government can do to help us?

On March 17 the Government released an economic response package to support businesses through the impact of COVID-19 and support the economy during the COVID-19 crisis. This includes wage support, and cash flow and tax measure support. Find out more on the Work and Income website:

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Where can I go for information about the impact of COVID-19 on my business?

Business.govt.nz has a range of resources and information related to COVID-19 for businesses, including:

  • Business continuity planning
  • Economic response package and eligibility
  • Exporters and importers
  • Tax and ACC
  • Cash flow
  • Travel
  • Employers
  • Health and safety
  • Landlords and tenants
  • Education
  • Scams and cyber security

Further information about these topics is available on the business.govt.nz website:

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I’m in the engineering and manufacturing sector. Can I continue to operate during the lockdown?

The EMA are working every day with New Zealand Government to keep up to date with the latest developments, give them feedback from members, and get answers to the questions that you tell us are most concerning you. (link to EMA Business Resources).

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I am a self-employed contractor and have been told I need to self-isolate and working from home is not an option for me. Is there any financial support available for me?

From 17 March 2020, the COVID-19 Leave Payment will be available to support people financially if they need to self-isolate, cannot work because they are sick with COVID-19 or cannot work because they are caring for dependents who are required to self-isolate or who are sick with COVID-19. More information on who qualifies for the leave payment, and how to apply, can be found on the Work and Income website:

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What is the Government doing to manage the economic impact of COVID-19?

Additional Support Packages 24 March

The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank announced a major financial support package for homeowners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The package will include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been affected by the economic disruption from COVID-19. The specific details of this initiative are being finalised and agreed urgently and banks will make these public in the coming days.

The Government and the banks will implement a $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy through this unprecedented time.

  • The Business Finance Guarantee Scheme will provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress on solvent small and medium-sized firms affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • This scheme leverages the Crown’s financial strength, allowing banks to lend to ease the financial stress on solvent firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates.
  • The Government will carry 80% of the credit risk, with the other 20% to be carried by the banks.

I’d like to know more about the various support packages the Government is providing. Where can I find out more?

The Government has implemented and extensive – and ongoing – package to help businesses through COVID-19. Download a range of Fact Sheets here.

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I’m an exporter. How can I mitigate the impact COVID-19 is having on my business?

Click here for advice on minimising COVID-19 disruption for your export business.

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How can I remain updated with the latest business tools and advice during the Lockdown?

Find out about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), how it may affect your business and how you can stay updated.

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What are the legal obligations for my business during the lockdown?

The effects of COVID-19 and associated government response raises a number of legal issues for businesses to consider. These include: (link to “5 key legal issues on your agenda”)

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How do infections spread and what are some of the steps I can take to help prevent this?

By understanding about how people can catch an infectious diseases, you can then take effective action to preventing their spread.

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How does Covid-19 affect my Worksafe planning?

The emergence of COVID-19 across the globe has created a new work health and safety risk that businesses need to manage.

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My team is now working from home. How can I ensure productivity remains as high as possible?

Here are tips on how to make an effective remote work policy.

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How can I help to look after my teams’ mental wellbeing during this stressful time?

In times like these we need practical, actionable ways of coping with stress, fear and anxiety. (Link to Ten percent happier sanity guide).

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I’m a Xero customer. Do they provide free on-line help that I can get for my mental health?

The Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) pilot provides free and confidential mental health support  to all of their starter, standard and premium plan subscribers in New Zealand, and their employees and families.

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How can I connect with experts to help me get my business through Covid-19?

The Regional Business Partners website will link you to the right people and information, at the right time, to help your business grow successfully.

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What steps can I put in place to help my business get back up and running after the lockdown?

Continuity and contingency planning is about being prepared for all types of disruptions and quickly getting back on your feet. Use this step by step guide to help get things sorted.

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I’m thinking of moving my business data online so that my accounts team can continue to function during the lockdown. What are my options?

With Covid-19 making businesses work remotely, now may be the time to move your data on-line so it can be easily accessed by members of your team. There are several options available to help you create a collaborative online working environment. These include: G-suite Google; Office 360 and Trello.

My physical business premises are closed over Lockdown, so I’m thinking of selling my products or services online. What are my options?

Depending on the nature of your business, the following sites allow you build a website or upgrade your existing site so you can continue selling your products or services online: WIX; Squarespace; Shopify and WooCommerce.

My team need to keep in touch, and doing everything via email email or the phone isn’t always an option. How can I hold virtual meetings?

You can hold virtual meetings with staff, clients or a mix of both anywhere in the world. Two easy-to-set-up options are Zoom and Skype.

I think my business won’t survive the lockdown. I have been operating for three years. What can I do to wind the business down?

The answer in part depends on the structure of the business, and how strong the financial position is right now.

For example, if it is a Company there is formal process to walk through, following the ‘Companies Act’ and being mindful of responsibilities as a Director.

There are some legal responsibilities around Companies that mean they really would expect they seek advice either from a lawyer or accountant.

However, if right now your balance sheet is OK – for example, let’s consider you are a small partnership or sole trader that can comfortably pay all the creditors on time, has cash in the bank, and the overall business debt doesn’t outweigh the business assets, then an example of action points may be:

  • FIRST putting together a cashflow forecast until end of year. Base it on perhaps not trading until end of year to see what the position will look like at that point;
  • Is there a way to minimise all costs/put them on hold until you can trade again? Ensure that it doesn’t go backwards, or into the negative?
  • Things to consider:
      • Talk to your Landlord. Ask for a rent holiday, or reduction from landlord to get you through;
      • Apply for wage subsidy, for you and employees. If you cannot continue to pay them normally or at least 80% under the subsidy, then see if you can negotiate with the staff to agree to being on ‘hold’ by just passing onto them the subsidy of $585.80 gross while they cannot work;
      • Talk to your advisor or IRD around deferring taxes/putting them on instalment plan with IRD. There is some support available at the IRD right now;
      • Deferring any maintenance unless absolutely necessary;
      • Consider selling (when possible) any unnecessary assets to cover costs;
      • Establish what other fixed costs you can reduce.
  • If you can potentially ‘trade through’ but will go a little backwards, then it is still perhaps worth talking to the bank. They currently have some extra government backing, which means they can in some instances fund some small to medium businesses, to get through this.

However, it is important to note, that if you were struggling or not in a good position financially BEFORE CV-19, then banks wont be much help.

If you cannot trade out of this, or don’t want to… then the cashflow forecast is still useful, as you can plan what the windup costs will be and get an idea of how much you need to set aside – for example to settle the lease, pay out employees and pay off any debts.

For all of the above, if you are out of your depth with the cash-flow forecast or any other aspects of managing the costs of closing down…then its important to get advice from your own accountant or professional advisor for your situation.

I run a business in the hospitality industry. Will I be able to re-open when New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3?

The government has announced that the level 3 alert system will allow the reopening of hospitality establishments through restricted takeaway services.

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Forestry Industry Protocols for Alert Level 3

This guidance would also apply if any forestry-related Operation was given permission to operate at Level 4. (Updated: 21 April 2020). Questions / Comments: enquiries@fisc.org.nz

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FAQ’s about how Covid-19 affects individuals.

I’m having trouble paying my rent. What are my options?

Due to loss of employment income, some tenants may experience issues paying their rent.

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My landlord is not letting me move into the rental property, because of where I’ve travelled from. What should I do?

Discrimination against prospective tenants or tenants is unlawful under tenancy law when it breaches the Human Rights Act.

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I’m a tenant is self-isolation. Who do I need to tell?

Tenants should let their landlord know if they are self-isolating or sick with COVID-19, especially if the landlord plans to visit or enter the rental.

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Due to Covid-19 I’m no longer able to move into my new rental property or I need to ned my tenancy. What are my options?

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) applies to current tenancies and prospective tenancies. The Act can also apply even if a written tenancy agreement is not in place. This includes situations where the tenant has:

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I don’t work in an essential industry. What support packages are available to me during the Lockdown?

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, Work and Income may be able to provide financial support. You may be self-isolating at home, or your work may be affected.

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Where can I find the latest from the Government about COVID-19, what it’s doing about it, and the steps I can play my part in helping to slow its spread?

Here’s where you’ll find everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place. Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Find out what help is available and get the latest updates.

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