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** We are all in this together.
First, and most importantly, if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call the Healthline team right now (for free) on 0800 358 5453. If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, check out our official website ([link removed]) .
The COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us, and it’s going to be tough as we move to alert level four. I want you to know though, we’re working hard to protect the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and to help the economy get through. Our people are our number one priority.
We’ve gone hard and gone early to slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. Our strong new border measures, self-isolation requirements, contact tracing, and increased testing are all important parts of our plan to achieve this.
New Zealand is about to be lifted to alert level ([link removed]) four. Most importantly, that means everyone should self-isolate at home. Almost all businesses must either move to a work-from-home model, or temporarily close. All of the measures this brings will remain in place for about four weeks. We need everyone to step up to help the nation by sticking to the restrictions, and the government will have zero tolerance for people ignoring them.
Our public health response
Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority. That’s why in recent weeks we’ve acted decisively to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep New Zealanders safe, including:
Everyone in New Zealand, except those in certain roles, now has to self-isolate. Most businesses also need to be closed, except essential services. To make sure this measure works, we’ve increased enforcement, including spot checks. Stay safe, stay home.
With schools closing for a few weeks, it’s important our kids keep learning. NCEA is not affected at this stage, and the Ministry of Education is working hard to provide support and resources for distance learning.
We’re imposing these extraordinary requirements because this is the best way to stop the virus from spreading through New Zealand communities. By obeying these rules, you’re saving people’s lives.
Treating cases and slowing spread
People who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are traced and tested straight away. We’re running hundreds of COVID-19 tests every day and the overwhelming majority of tests are coming back negative. Almost all cases are related to overseas travel.
Strong border controls
Our borders are now closed to any non-residents and non-citizens. Domestic travel is also heavily restricted. These measures are essential if we are to avoid the worst of what we are now seeing overseas.
Our economic response
This is an unprecedented global event, and it will have a significant impact on our local businesses and workers. We’re pulling out all the stops to keep businesses open and workers employed.
Work and incomes
We’ve introduced a wage subsidy scheme ([link removed]) meaning affected businesses receive support directly from the Government to keep their staff on. Every business, registered charity, NGO, sole trader, and most other entities in New Zealand can access the scheme, which now covers all their workers no matter how large the entity.
We’ve also introduced a leave payments programme for people who can’t work from home, covering all New Zealand workers: employees, contractors, and those who are self-employed.
In addition, we’re funding new initiatives to redeploy people who don’t have work, as a result of COVID-19, to keep more people in work and to keep businesses productive.
We’re also helping the most vulnerable in our communities to stay warm and put food on the table this winter with increases to main benefits and the Winter Energy Payment. Because these people are likely to spend that money right away, local businesses will benefit, too.
For more information, and to apply, please visit: workandincome.govt.nz/covid19support ([link removed])
We’ve also announced tax changes for businesses to help them weather the effects of COVID-19.
We’re reinstating depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings and lifting the threshold for writing off low-value assets to encourage investment in businesses premises and other assets. And we’re increasing the threshold for having to pay provisional tax, to allow small businesses to defer tax payments.
For more information, or to apply, please visit: ird.govt.nz/covid19 ([link removed])
Mortgages and financing
We’ve announced a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been impacted by COVID-19. Details will go from individual banks to their customers in coming days. This will mean people won’t lose their homes as a result of the economic disruption.
We’re implementing a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy through this unprecedented time.
It’s normal to be feeling anxious or concerned, but you’re not alone - we’re all in this together. The Prime Minister’s message to New Zealanders was: “Be strong, but be kind – we will be okay.” And we will be. We’re going hard and going early with our response to this crisis, and we’ll keep doing everything we can to support all New Zealanders.
So please, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to let me know. And for the most up-to-date advice and information on the Government’s response to COVID-19, please visit covid19.govt.nz ([link removed])
** How I can help
My electorate office on Willis Street is a great place to get help if you are having difficulties with agencies such as Work and Income, ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand or Immigration.
Don't hesitate to get in touch:
Ph: 04 801 8079 Email: [email protected]
Address: 220 Willis Street
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Wellington Central Electorate Office
220 Willis St, Wellington 6141
Ph: 04 801 8079
Authorised by Grant Robertson, 220 Willis Street, Wellington.
Our mailing address is:
220 Willis Street
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Hon Grant Robertson MP . 220 Willis Street . Wellington, Wgn 6011 . New Zealand
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