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Essential Services

Essential businesses and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand during Alert Level 4.

This includes orchards, packhouses, coolstores and all related parts of the food production supply chain such as distribution of fruit, chemical supply, verification agencies, laboratories and inspection services.

All businesses must register with MPI and will be expected to prove that they can protect their workers and the public from COVID-19.

Registering as an Essential Business

Essential businesses with more than 5 people working on any site are required to register with the Ministry for Primary Industries. If you have 5 or less people on site and can achieve social distancing including to and from work you do not need to register.

A guidance document for registration is provided here.

Online registration for Safe Practice as an Essential Business has closed. If you have not registered, contact MPI by email or phone 0800 00 83 33. If you have registered, you should have received an email confirmation with a registration number.


Requirements of Operating as an Essential Business

Essential businesses must operate in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission. They should:

  • Minimise or eliminate physical interactions among staff and with and between customers.
  • Ensure appropriate health, hygiene and safety measures are in place.
  • Restrict activity to only what is essential during the Alert Level 4 period.
  • For MPI guidance on what activities are considered essential see More FAQs here.

It is expected that MPI will check business operations against the information they provided for registration.

MPI have provided a guidance document for workplace requirements to be consistent, compliant and safe.

Read MPI's Horticulture Guidance Document here.

MPI expect that all businesses will have COVID-19 management plan that includes:

  • A management system that strives for minimum social distancing of 2 m at all times including accommodation and transport.
  • A documented hygiene plan.
  • A documented cleaning plan.
  • Education of workers on risks and requirements.
  • A process for managing a positive COVID-19 detection in the workplace that includes contact tracing for accommodation and transport.

Read Fruit and Vegetable Retailer Protocol Information here


Financial Support

Wage Subsidy Scheme

New Zealand businesses who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 may be eligible to apply for a wage subsidy.

Read the most up to date information on the Work and Income website.


COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support

COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support is available for essential businesses to pay their employees who can't work.

This means your essential workers:

  • can't come into work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home, and
  • can't work from home.

Read the most up to date information on the Work and Income website


Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

The Government has launched a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy. The Crown in partnership with participating approved banks will support targeted new loans (including increases to existing limits) to eligible businesses, as a response to difficulties caused by COVID-19. Under the scheme, businesses with annual revenue between $250,000 and $80 million can apply to their banks for loans up to $500,000, for up to 3 years.

Read details on the MBIE website.


Redundancy Support

If you’ve lost your job or are a business faced with laying off your employees, there may be support options available to you. There is also information for employers who are considering redundancies.

Read details on the Work and Income website.

Business cash flow and tax measures

Business cash flow and tax measures include: 

  • Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021 
  • Increasing the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 — and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year 
  • Allowing depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings from 2020/2021 
  • Removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) from 1 July 2020.

Read details on the IRD website.


Further support for small to medium sized businesses

The Government has announced a set of additional relief measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new measures include:

  • 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.

Read details on the government website

Read details on the IRD website


ACC helping ease the burden on business

As part of ACC’s plan for helping reduce the immediate impact of COVID-19 on businesses, ACC is delaying all invoicing by three months.

Invoices for the 2020/21 financial year which would usually have been sent from 1 July will now be issued in October.

Payment options will be available once invoices are sent in October to further assist businesses in managing the payment of the invoices.

ACC is also providing you with the option to continue to be invoiced as per normal, if that better suits the needs of your business.  You can simply log in to your MyACC for Business account or complete this form to opt out of the delay and choose to receive your 2020/21 invoice at the normal time.

To find out more about the delay to invoicing visit


Employment Support


During this challenging time you may have a number of questions and concerns about your roles as an employer or as an employee. For up to date advice on contracts, leave, minimum wages, pay entitlements go to the  Employment New Zealand website.

Business Support 

The following support mechanisms are available:

  • Free, practical, interactive Virtual Workshops covering the topics of Business Continuity, People Management, Cashflow & Finance and Health & Wellness as a Leader. These are open to all businesses of any shape or size and open to community organisations and not-for-profits.

The Business Continuity  and People Management topics have a variety of offerings from managing supply chain to engaging with customers through technology. These are a real shot in the arm.

  • If you would like to work 1:1 with an expert on the areas of Business Continuity, Finance, HR and Health & Wellness in Business, if you register on our website you could tap into 100% funding support to access advice, if these are areas of priority for you. If you already work with RBP please email


B2B marketplace. 

The driver behind this is that we know that New Zealand companies have extra or need additional resources currently. ("Resources" might include workforce, materials, technology, manufacturing capacity, storage, freight, and so on.) Our conversations with our customers showed there was a clear demand for a solution to sit alongside the work we are doing in international freight support.

The site is live here, and can also be accessed via our dedicated website

Managed by NZTE on behalf of NZ Inc, it is designed to work as a matching platform to allow New Zealand businesses to connect with other New Zealand businesses that may need or have extra resource at this time. This is for urgent or timely requests or offers that have come about due to the disruption in the businesses supply chain. It is not meant to be a directory of generic business support services, nor is it about supply of medical equipment to government.

The Marketplace is organised into sector/solution forums such as freight, temporary storage, supplies, business services and staff availability, and will adapt to show more categories as required.


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