NZ Government announces $12.1b economic rescue package

By MiNDFOOD

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The New Zealand Government has announced a spending package equivalent to four per cent of the country’s GDP in an effort to combat the effects of COVID-19 on the economy.

The $12.1 billion stimulus includes $8.7 billion in support for businesses and jobs, $2.8 billion for income support, and $500 million to bolster the healthcare sector’s response to the virus.

Wage subsidies will be available for employers up to 12 weeks and up to $150,000 if they have experienced more than a 30 per cent decline in revenue compared to last year.

The package will cover wages for people who need to self-isolate but can’t work from home, as well as those caring for relatives who are sick with the virus even if they are not infected with the virus themselves.

The self-isolation payments are not available to people who leave NZ after March 16 and return, when they would need to self-isolate for 14 days.

There will be an increase of $25 a week in main social welfare benefits from 1 April, with about 350,000 low-income families likely to benefit.

There will be a one-off doubling of the Winter Energy Payment – $1400 for couples and $900 for singles.

The health funding boost includes $32 million for extra intensive care capacity and hospital equipment, and money for GPs and primary care and improving video conferencing and telehealth consultations.

The package will take effect immediately and has been described by Finance Minister Grant Robertson as “one of the largest in the world on a per capita basis”.

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