NEWS & EVENTS

At NZKGI, we aim to keep our grower community up-to-date with relevant industry news and key event information. See below for all of our latest industry news announcements and the details you need to know for our upcoming events.

Latest News / April 30, 2020

[UPDATED 30 April] Coronavirus: Financial Package Kiwifruit

Updated Economic Package Announced 30 April 2020

A tax assistant package for small and medium businesses has been announced and will provide the following incentives:

  • Greater flexibility for taxpayers in respect of statutory tax deadlines
  • Changes to the tax loss continuity rules
  • A tax loss carry-back scheme
  • Measures to support commercial tenants and landlords
  • Further business consultancy support.

More information can be found here.

 

Updated Economic Package Announced 29 April 2020

From 1 May, the Essential Workers Leave Support will be known as the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and any business (not just essential ones) will be able to apply for the payment to cover their staff not able to work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home.

More information can be found here.

 

Updated Economic Package Announced 6 April 2020

Essential businesses, who haven’t had a 30% decline in revenue, may be able to apply for Essential Workers Leave Support if employees:

  • Are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, and Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home while we’re in lockdown (and potentially longer)
  • Come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines)
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to remain off work until they’ve been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation, or
  • Have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 and Ministry of Health recommend the worker also remains at home to reduce the risk to them.

The business must also have a conversation with the employee:

  • About how they can best be supported. For example, the employee may choose to use any sick or discretionary leave they have, instead of getting the Leave Support. If the business can’t pay the full amount of this leave to the employee, the business can apply for the Leave Support to top it up
  • About not able to financially support the employee due to the COVID-19 public health restrictions. For example, the cost of paying for the employees’ leave and paying for replacement staff is significant.

The Essential Workers Leave Support will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)
  • $350.00 for people who were working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).

It will be paid as a lump sum and covers four weeks per employee. If a business needs to apply for the employee again after the four weeks is up, they can do this in the fourth week.

If the employees hours fluctuate
If the employee worked variable hours (or the employee did), an average can be used to work out which rate to apply for.

More information and how to apply can be found here

 

Updated Economic Package Announced 28 March 2020

The wage subsidy is a government payment to help employers pay wages. It does not change any other employment law obligations, meaning employees must be paid appropriately under their employment agreements for the hours they do if they work during the lockdown.

  • Businesses accessing the scheme must still undertake best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID income. Where that is not possible – in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours – they must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker
  • Businesses must undertake to keep employees in employment for the period of the subsidy
  • The declaration obligations under the wage subsidy scheme have been strengthened
  • The previous sick leave scheme has been incorporated into the wage subsidy scheme (effective 3pm 27 March 2020) to prevent double-dipping. The original sick leave scheme was designed when few people were in self-isolation, and it is no longer fit for purpose. The government is working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to COVID-19.
  • Applications for the sick leave scheme received prior to 3pm on 27 March 2020, will continue to be processed

 

Updated Economic Package Announced 23 March 2020

All employers affected by COVID-19 will now be able to apply for the existing subsidy to support the wages of all of their workers.

  • The previous $150,000 cap is being lifted, so that all employers can access the full payments to subsidise each workers salary
  • New businesses (eg. that are less than a year old) and high growth firms (eg. firms that have had significant increase in revenue) are also eligible. They need to demonstrate the revenue loss assessment against a similar time period, for example a 30% loss of income, attributable to COVID-19, in March 2020 compared to January 2020
  • Self-employed people with variable monthly incomes are eligible if can demonstrate the revenue loss assessment against the previous year’s monthly average (eg. 30% loss of income attributable to COVID-19 comparing March 2020 to the average monthly income in the period March 2019 to March 2020).
  • The government is expediting urgent work on new income support measures for all workers above and beyond the wage subsidy scheme, to be appropriate for how the economy will operate under Alert Level 4
  • The government, Reserve Bank and retail banks have agreed in principle to significant temporary support for mortgage holders and a business finance guarantee scheme for those impacted by COVID-19. The details of this will be announced in the next few days
  • Cabinet has agreed to freeze all rent increases and to look to extend no-cause terminations to protect people during this difficult time.

 Other criteria still apply, including the 30% revenue reduction and for businesses, to maintain their named employees at 80% (four out of five days) of their pre-COVID income. The same twelve-week period applies to the wage subsidy scheme. The new criteria will apply from midnight tonight.

More information can be found here

You can apply for the wage subsidy and leave entitlements by clicking here

 

Economic Package Announced 18 March 2020

 A factsheet on the leave and wage subsidy can be found here

Packhouse

Depreciation deductions will be reintroduced for new and existing industrial and commercial buildings

  • A Bill will be introduced shortly. The law will allow owners of commercial and industrial buildings to start reducing their provisional tax payments for the 2020-21 income year immediately. There is no application process as the increased deduction will be available as part of normal tax filing processes.


Packhouse/Contractors and Orchard Owners

Leave payment

The leave payment is open to workers where the need to self-isolate or recover from COVID-19 that prevents a person from working. Payments will be $585.50 per worker per week for full-time workers and $350 per worker per week for part-time workers.

Employers will apply to the Ministry of Social Development for the subsidy on behalf of workers and are required to pass on the full weekly amount.  Self-employed people will apply for themselves and receive the subsidy. As people may be required to self-isolate more than once, employers will be able to apply more than once.

  • Eligibility is open to all employees legally working in New Zealand (through their employers), the self-employed, and contractors
  • Eligibility will only be for workers who are not able to work from home

The entitlement is for:

  • Those who self-isolate in accordance with public health guidance and who register with Healthline
  • Those who are ill with COVID-19
  • Those who cannot work because they are caring for a dependent in either of these circumstances
  • Those who leave New Zealand to travel overseas from 16 March 2020 will not be eligible for this payment for self-isolation on their return.

Workers taking sick leave before 17 March 2020, can only access the scheme for time spent on sick leave from 17 March 2020. It will not be accessible for those who have travelled overseas since 16 March 2020. Employers receiving the payment for employees who are required to self-isolate can receive it for 14 days

The scheme is administered by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD)
You can apply for the wage subsidy and leave entitlements by clicking here


Wage subsidy

Who can get it

  • An employer, contractor, sole trader or self-employed person who meets the below criteria:
  • The business must be registered and operating in New Zealand
  • The employees must be legally working in New Zealand
  • The business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19
  • The business must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19
  • The employer must make best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period (generally four out of five days)

How much you can get

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee and is administered by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). The maximum subsidy that can be paid to a business is $150,000. Businesses can only get this subsidy once. The subsidy is available from 17 March 2020 for eight weeks and MSD will aim to make payments within five working days

Definitions can be found here

You can apply for the wage subsidy and leave entitlements by clicking here

More information can be found on the Ministry of Social Development website here