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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.
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 email@example.com or phone 0800 00 83 33. If you have registered, you should have received an email confirmation with a registration number.
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
Information for Auckland businesses to register as an Essential Service
Minister Hipkins today announced tighter border controls so that Level 3 people do not mingle with Level 2 people.
For some inexplicable reason, exemptions allowed include freight but do not include the movement of essential workers. The exemptions do not include horticulture or agriculture - so while a tractor may be able to move, groups of horticulture workers (it would seem) cannot do so even if they are moving paddock to paddock.
MPI yesterday made an application for horticulture (among other sectors) to have a global exemption. The Ministry of Health has asked some questions but has not yet made a decision.
Individual businesses affected by this should consider making an application just in case MPI fail. The following is what the website says about making an application:
How to apply
Make sure you include:
- your contact details
- if the exemption is for a personal or business reason
- who you want the exemption to cover, including the number of people or organisations
- the reasons why you think the exemption is necessary
- how the exemption promotes the purpose of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Levels 3 and 2) Order 2020
- what steps you will take to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19
- what the consequences are if an exemption is not granted.
If your application involves the potential loss of life or significant harm to individuals, put this in the subject of your email.
While it appears that Police are currently accepting essential worker letters to cross the border, tomorrow the horticulture exemption will be needed.
All businesses must register for and display the government COVID tracer app QR code. This is in addition to any other sign in protocols that you may have on your sites.
Click here for the link to the application form https://qrform.tracing.covid19.govt.nz/. You will need your NZ Business Number and a NZ drivers licence to complete the application. The instructions are self-explanatory, but if you have any questions please contact us.
You will need to create a separate poster for each of your sites or unique locations, but can print as many copies of each poster as you need.
Print your posters in A4 and in colour (if possible). Posters should be displayed in prominent locations next to EVERY site entrance. Place them where it easy for people to reach them to scan the code without creating an obstruction.
Contact tracing is also important for yourself and your staff. Download the Government NZ COVID contract tracing app via the google or apple store.
COVID-19 Business Advisory Voucher Funding
The government has recently announced additional funds for COVID-19 Business Advisory Voucher Funding to provide access to expert advice and support across one or more of the subject areas below:
- HR & Employee Relations and Legal
- Financial and Cashflow Management
- Health and Wellness
- Business Continuity Planning
- Marketing Strategy
- Digital Enablement Strategy
Businesses can access up to $5k funding (at 100% funding, no co-funding required) split across some of these topics.
A reminder of the Eligibility Criteria for Businesses:
- have undergone an assessment with a Business Growth Advisor, from the RBP team
- have fewer than 100 full-time equivalent employees, and
- be GST registered in New Zealand, and
- have a New Zealand Business Number, and
- be operating in a commercial environment; and
- be a privately-owned business or are a Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership.
- Charitable trusts
- Incorporated societies
If a business is new to working with RBP, please register on our website, and we shall be in touch to have a brief conversation (30 minutes max) about your business challenges and how COVID has impacted you.
If a business is already registered but can’t remember the name of your RBP Growth Advisor, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 acc.co.nz.
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.
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 www.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz 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 email@example.com
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 http://covid19.nzte.govt.nz
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.