From Thursday, Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 1. This means there are no longer restrictions on the number of people at social gatherings or extra protocols for businesses. However, businesses and public transport must continue to display QR codes. More here: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-1/
Boosting small business digital capability
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash and Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis have announced details of a $20 million digital capability package for small businesses.
The package, which forms part of the COVID-19 economic response, is focused on helping small businesses and tourism operators transition in the COVID-19 world by lifting digital capability through enhanced digital skills.
The $20 million package includes:
$10 million specifically for small businesses plus an additional $5 million to help boost digital capability in the tourism sector as part of the Tourism Recovery Package
$5 million for Qualmark to help tourism operators develop digital strategies and skills.
The key initiatives in the small business digital capability package are:
A Spotlight Series where small business owners who have recently transformed their business by becoming digital can share their experiences with other small business owners — this will include businesses from a wide range of sectors including tourism
providing digital skills training and support focused on enabling small business owners realise the benefits of becoming more digital — this will be available to every small and micro business in New Zealand
working with the private sector to put together the most relevant digital tools, technologies, products and services to support small businesses with becoming digital, including offerings tailored for the tourism sector
industry specialists appointed by Qualmark to provide a series of workshops and one-on-one advice. Key areas are strategic digital marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), organic growth, website performance and online booking system audits, online advertising and paid media, social media content and creation, conversion optimisation, lead generation and measuring success.
MBIE is currently engaging with potential private sector providers to deliver the small business digital capability package, and more information will be available here in the coming weeks.
In the meantime:
Expert advice (to the value of $5000) is currently available through the COVID-19 Business Advisory Regional Business Fund to support business recovery and growth.
COVID-19 Business Advisory Regional Business Fund (external link) — New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
Qualmark funding is available to help tourism operators to develop digital strategies and skills. More information on this funding is available on the Qualmark Website
Tourism Advisory Support Service (external link) — Qualmark
Covid 19: News 10.09.2020
Auckland Council Update
Auckland Council recognises the challenges facing Auckland’s retail and hospitality sector due to the resurgence of COVID-19 and we want to support them while our region remains in a restricted environment.
This note sets out some advice for retail and hospitality premises during Alert Level 2. We would appreciate your sharing this with your members.
Allowing more space for physical distancing
One practical way businesses can adapt at Alert Level 2 is by using the space immediately outside their shopfront. This may help with physical distancing, a click and collect set-up, or as an added way to promote products.
While Auckland’s bylaws already allow businesses to use the 600mm of space directly in front of their shop for displays, Auckland Council will be taking a relaxed approach to this measurement while we remain in Alert Level 2. However, we ask that businesses take a sensible approach so that areas around their premises remain safe for both customers and the general public.
Outdoor dining space
Physical distancing can be a real challenge for dine-in hospitality businesses, particularly those in small premises. To help businesses make use of outdoor space, if they aren’t already doing so, we will fast-track new food-only outdoor dining licence applications during Alert Level 2 and issue them within 24 hours of receipt. Applications can be made online here. Auckland Council is unable to fast-track new on-premise alcohol licenses or extend existing on-premise licenses however because of the input required from Police, Ministry of Health and District Licencing Boards.
We will also take a relaxed approach to bars, cafes and restaurants using more space than normal to allow for increased distancing between tables during Alert Level 2.
We do ask that businesses are considerate of others and allow clear space for pedestrians. Businesses should also ensure there are no obstructions that would prevent an emergency response. Where complaints are received from members of the public or property owners about unsafe practices, we will respond accordingly.
It’s important to highlight that the Police and District Licensing Boards, through council’s alcohol inspectors, will continue to enforce the conditions of alcohol licenses at Alert Level 2, so we encourage businesses to check the details of their licence before extending the footprint of their outdoor dining space.
Extending outdoor dining licences
In recognition of the trading restrictions at Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2, we will extend the expiry date for existing and new food-only licences for the period of time Auckland is at these alert levels. When Auckland returns to Alert Level 1, we encourage licence holders to get in touch with our Street Trading team so we can process this extension for them.
Keeping spaces safe for pedestrians
Our number one priority is ensuring that our trading environments and streets continue to be safe for everyone.
So that we can trial offering flexibility while in this restricted environment, we ask that businesses:
- Review the ‘Doing business at Alert Level 2’ guidelines
- Ensure spaces around their premises are kept clear of any hazards that may cause trips or other harm to their customers or members of the public
- Make regular checks to ensure that all pedestrians, including those using mobility devices or prams can easily move through the area and are not impeded by furniture or shop displays
- Be aware of any obstructions or groupings that may prevent an emergency response.
If members have any questions, they can contact our Street Trading team, via the Auckland Council contact centre on 09 301 0101.
Covid 19: News 17.08.2020
Transport in Auckland under Alert Level 3 extension
The Government has announced that Auckland will be staying in Alert Level 3 until 11:59pm on 26 August. Government will review its decision and next steps on 21 August.
Though this means most things will be staying the same since the city moved to Alert Level 3 earlier this week, there will be further changes when it comes to transport in Auckland.
These new changes include:
- School buses will not be operating from Monday 17 August
- Public transport timetables will be adjusting
- Some AT customer service centres will be closing
- City centre and town centre pedestrian crossings will be set to automatic phasing
For more details on these, see the comprehensive list below.
Since moving to Alert Level 3 on 12 August, more testing sites have opened in the city. Auckland Transport (AT) is assisting with traffic management around DHB-run testing centres. Long queues at these sites are causing congestion and delays for some public transport. We ask motorists to avoid them unless they are going for a test.
Whangaparaoa’s Dynamic Lanes will be turned off on 17 August until Auckland moves back down to Alert Level 2 or Alert Level 1.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff urges Aucklanders to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by following all the health guidelines.
“We all have a responsibility to follow Government health directives — for the good of ourselves, our families and older folk and our wider communities,” he says.
“Everything we can do in the fight against this disease makes a difference. By working together we can defeat COVID-19 again, just as we did last time.”
While at Alert Level 3, the Government’s advice is to stay home. Travel is allowed for the following essential personal movement in your area:
- Accessing local services and businesses
- Going to work if required. However, you are required to work from home if you can
- Low-risk recreation in local area
- Extended bubble arrangements
- Travelling to permitted gatherings
As per Government advice, it is highly recommended that people wear face coverings when out in public to help stop the spread of the virus.
For more information of where and when you are permitted to travel go to: www.covid19.govt.nz
The Government has advised that you must maintain physical distancing of two metres outside your home, including on public transport.
Public transport will continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements in place. Per Government advice, you should maintain physical distancing and wear a face covering.
Fares will continue to be charged through Alert Level 3. Cash will not be accepted on public transport. Customers must tag on/off with their AT HOP card and we strongly recommend that you register your AT HOP card to help with contact tracing should it be required. This will also allow us to monitor passenger numbers and make fast adjustments to services if required due to changes in demand.
Timetables will be adjusting for public transport under Alert Level 3. Buses will be largely operating at a weekday schedule with some cancelations after or around midnight.
AT school bus services will not operate from Monday next week (17 August). Parents who are essential workers should try to make alternative arrangements early for getting children to school if they have no other options for their children while they are at work. Ministry of Education funded school bus services in Auckland have already been suspended from 12 August.
If you are served by school buses that are not operated by AT or the Ministry of Education, such as privately contracted or commercial services, please contact the provider to find out what they are doing with their buses under Alert Level 3.
Auckland’s trains will operate at slower speeds from Monday 17th August while KiwiRail carries out urgent work to replace and repair worn rail, which was already planned regardless of Alert Level changes.
We’re working together with KiwiRail, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Transdev to minimise the disruption to rail customers over the shortest possible time. However, this work does mean there will be fewer trains and travel times will be longer over the next few months once repairs to the tracks has been commenced.
Under Alert Level 3, trains will be moving to a 30-minute frequency. For ferries, the Birkenhead, Bayswater, Stanley Bay and Gulf Harbour services will not operate while we are at Alert Level 3. Remaining services will operate to a reduced schedule. Note: some key ferry services such as those to Waiheke and Devonport are not contracted or managed by AT and different arrangements may apply.
Customers can continue to rely on the AT Mobile App and journey planner to plan their journey. We will be actively monitoring our timetables while at Alert Level 3 and will make changes to timetables as needed. For timetable information download the AT Mobile app or go to: www.at.govt.nz
Those travelling on public transport should avoid peak times unless it is necessary, such as going to work or school. This is to further ensure that the required two metres of physical distancing between staff and customers can be maintained.
AT has taken numerous measures to help keep customers safe on our network and maintain effective and safe public transport services for our customers, these include:
- While wearing of face coverings is not mandatory on public transport, as per the Ministry of Health’s guidance it is recommended that customers use them if possible as an added precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
- Our AT Mobile app indicates the available capacity that is on a bus or train service at any given time, so customers will know if two-metre physical distancing will be achievable before they board. Bus drivers will move to only dropping customers off once a vehicle is at capacity.
- We’re ensuring that all public transport is being cleaned regularly and we have enhanced our cleaning regime to include antimicrobial protection fogging of facilities and our fleet. See a video of some of our cleaning here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpAHT7gpQRI
- Buses and trains are being spot checked, with touch surfaces being regularly cleaned.
- We ask that passengers use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising physical contact between customers and the bus drivers.
- Customers who use a wheel chair or other mobility device or require driver assistance can still use the front door of buses. This also applies to vision impaired customers – we ask drivers to assist them through the front door.
- Our cleaners and other essential staff are using PPE and will maintain clear physical distancing rules — such as using the ‘bubble’ rule with our teams, strict hand-washing prior to and after completing tasks — and other measures as they go about their work on our vehicles, stations and facilities to minimise the risk of COVID-19 as much as possible.
Be mindful that the Government’s advice continues to be that the best defence against COVID-19 is to limit our interactions with others.
Under Alert Level 3, Aucklanders must continue to stay within their household bubbles whenever they are not at work, at school, going to the supermarket, for medical reasons, or exercising.
Total Mobility fares
The Total Mobility scheme will continue to operate under Alert Level 3, but fares will remain the same. The Total Mobility scheme supports people who cannot use public transport to travel, all or some of the time. More information on Total Mobility can be found at https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/accessible-travel/total-mobility-scheme/
Customer service centres
Starting 17 August, some of our customer service centres will close for Alert Level 3 so we can keep a safe physical distance (at least two metres) between our staff and customers.
During this time, we recommend customers use self-service options such as ordering an AT HOP card online, setting up their account to auto-top up or simply going online to top-up an AT HOP card. Journey planning can also be done via the AT website or AT Mobile app. We also recommend that you register your card online so that if it’s lost you can have any balances transferred and for contact tracing purposes.
Our call centres remain open and customers can speak to us 24/7 by calling 09 355 3553.
If you’re unable to access self-service options, the following customer service centres will be open with appropriate safety measures in place but will have reduced staff numbers (see our website for opening hours):
- Britomart ticket windows
- Manukau Bus Station
- New Lynn ticket window
- Smales Farm
Parking and outdoor activities
Parking fees in AT buildings and on-street will continue to be collected in paid parking areas. AT will enforce safety related infringements including parking on footpaths, over vehicle entrances and obstructing cycle, bus and transit lanes.
Parking and transport compliance staff will also be assisting authorities by monitoring physical distancing behaviour across our network and assisting essential healthcare and community testing facilities with any transport related issues.
Leisure boating and activities on the water such as jet skiing are not allowed under Alert Level 3.
If you’re walking and cycling for essential trips or exercise, make sure you continue to maintain a two-metre distance from other people and their bubbles. As per Government advice, it is highly recommended that people wear face coverings when out in public to help stop the spread of the virus. For information on cycling and walking, including maps, how to videos and guidance on how to stay safe while walking or cycling, check out our website. https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/
231 pedestrian crossing signals across the Auckland Region and city centre will be fully automated for the duration of Alert Level 3 between 7AM and 7PM from Monday to Sunday.
At other intersections on the network, if you don’t find the Green Man popping up we suggest that you ‘elbow bump’ the push button.
Under Alert Level 3, we will be able to continue planned renewal works such as road surfacing, repair and footpath works.
Our essential maintenance activities such as fixing potholes will also continue.
AT construction sites will operate under strict guidelines. Each site has developed a Health and Safety Plan based on Ministry of Health Guidance and industry best practice:
- At Alert Level 3, these measures include physical distancing, construction bubbles, compulsory PPE including masks, hygiene practices on site entry and exit and separating teams into zones on our larger sites.
- All construction sites must keep track of people entering and leaving the site using a site register.
- Inductions for new project staff and compulsory COVID 19 education and training will be part of ongoing site protocols while in Alert Level 3, plus any new restarted work will require contractors to submit COVID 19 Health and Safety plans and protocols to demonstrate a safe working environment.
Office-based staff will largely work from home while we are at Alert Level 3, although people will be moving around the network as services and construction work continue. Face-to-face meetings will not be held and wherever possible we will use online meeting options.
Office-based AT staff will largely work from home while we are at Alert Level 3, although some people will still be moving around the network for essential work. Face-to-face meetings, whether at our offices or at other locations, will not be held and wherever possible we will use online meeting options. Public meetings or workshops that were scheduled during Alert Level 3 period will be postponed if they cannot be moved to a suitable online alternative.
We know this is once again a challenging time for us all. We ask that people be understanding and patient of everyone else who is in the same situation.
From 12pm on Wednesday 19 August, all businesses and services providers are required to display the official NZ COVID Tracer QR code posters in prominent places at or near the main entrances of each of their premises. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand by supporting faster contact tracing.
Create your official NZ COVID Tracer Poster (external link) — covid19.govt.nz
Getting your QR codes
Businesses that haven’t already generated an official QR code for each of their premises can do so through the webform at: https://qrform.tracing.covid19.govt.nz/ (external link) . A separate poster is needed for each premises or unique location.
To use the webform, business owners will need:
- a valid New Zealand driver licence so your identity can be verified
- the address details for each of your premises
- your email address
- an email address and contact phone number for each of your locations.
If you have a large number of premises or do not have a driver licence, you can also get your official QR codes by emailing a completed bulk-upload template to the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer support team at email@example.com.
Download the bulk upload template (external link) — Ministry of Health.
Businesses can also download QR code posters through MBIE’s Business Connect. If you are already registered with Business Connect, simply log in to the service to get started (external link) .
Tips on displaying your poster
Each QR code poster relates to a specific premises or location. Print as many copies of the poster as needed to ensure there is one displayed prominently at or near every entrance to the premises. Feel free to print additional copies for display in other places, such as at the register.
Print your posters in A4 and in colour (if possible), and do not crop them – they must be displayed in their entirety. It is recommended you place a poster on the left-hand side of the front window or entrance, with the top approximately 130cm from the ground.
How to display your QR code poster (external link) — Ministry of Health
Want more information?
You can find further information about the QR codes and all download processes from the Ministry of Health.
NZ COVID tracer (external link) — Ministry of Health
Covid 19: News 13.08.2020
Remote working checklist from Mace IT Services
- Check your Inbound call flow and configure it to:
- Identify incoming call types and redirect it to the respective person or voice recording
- Notify a specific staff or group by email and voice recording
- Email call report at the end of the day for management to ensure all customer requests were attended
- Redirect emails to your ticketing system for prioritisation
- Check your Outbound calling and see if you can
- Provide phone extension at home. The VoIP phone system allows you to have either desk phone setup at home or your phone system extension can be configured using a mobile app. Having staff call from your office phone system helps you with reporting and accountability.
- Ensure your staff has access to customer service email from anywhere and from any device and ensure it is:
- Configured with Microsoft Active sync, Google or IMAP, so that copy of emails are always available on the server
- Redirecting incoming emails to ticketing system if possible for prioritisation and task assignment
Files and Folder Access:
- Ensure your staff has access to files and folders remotely from anywhere and from any device.
- Set up VPN if you have On-premise or file server Inhouse
- Configure SharePoint for document management system using Microsoft 365
- You can also use Google Drive, Dropbox and several other cloud storage and file synchronisation software
Remote access to Business Application:
- If you have business applications like MYOB, ACE Payroll, ERP packages like SAGE, Navision, ACT and so on, there are two ways you can set up remote access to your business applications:
- Setup Remote Desktop Services on your server and allow users to connect your server using any devices securely and from anywhere
- Setup VPN for staff with the laptop and continue using applications from their own laptop
Secure and Access Control:
- Working from home and remotely brings a new set of challenges. We certainly don’t want problems coming home! And so make sure you keep those thugs and bugs away from your business by taking the following measures:
- Ensure you have secured firewall/router when opening up IT for remote working
- Setup 2FA/MFA to avoid unauthorised access to your system in case passwords are stolen or compromised
- Make sure the computers accessing your company data remotely is secured and bug-free
- Setup audit logs to keep a record of data and system access
- Setup access controls so that users have access to only what they need
We hope that this remote working checklist will be valuable. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions and if you need help with anything. Our team is on standby to help all businesses with their IT matters.
Auckland is moving to Alert Level 3
Auckland region will move to Alert Level 3 at 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August 2020.
It will remain at Alert Level 3 for at least 3 days. This will give us time to assess the situation and gather information, including contact tracing, so we can find out more about how the case arose.
What you should do
If you are in Auckland, this is what you should do while we minimise the risk of transmission.
Under Alert Level 3, you are encouraged work from home if you can.
Travel and self-isolation
If you are currently in Auckland and do not live in Auckland, we suggest that you go home. Practise good hygiene and be conscious of your health. We recommend that you keep your bubble small.
Businesses are able to open, but should not physically interact with customers.
Essential services including healthcare, justice services and businesses providing necessities are able to open.
Bars and restaurants should close, but takeaways are allowed.
Schools in Auckland can safely open but will have limited capacity. Where possible we encourage students to learn from home.
When you’re out and about
Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres outside your home, including on public transport.
It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.
Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements. You should maintain physical distancing and wearing a mask.
Public venues should close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets.
Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained.
People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home.
COVID-19 update: Transport in Auckland under Alert Level 1
The Government has announced that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 1. This means Auckland Transport services are largely returning to normal operations.
The Government has advised the general rule for Alert Level 1 is that COVID-19 is contained in New Zealand but still uncontrolled overseas. This means that it is still important for Aucklanders to be prepared and to be vigilant. If someone is feeling sick, they should stay home. They should not go to work or school and do not socialise if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or are awaiting a COVID-19 test result.
Though Alert Level 1 means public transport can return to normal capacity levels due to physical distancing requirements being removed, the Government is asking everyone to keep track of where they have been and who they have seen to assist with quick contact tracing should a new case appear. To help with this recommendation, AT customers using a registered AT HOP card are able take note of their travel history on public transport by checking their transaction history on the AT Mobile app or on our website at www.AT.govt.nz/myat.
The Government is also asking everyone to continue with public health measures that were encouraged under all Alert Levels such as washing your hands frequently, coughing into your elbow and avoiding touching your face as much as possible.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the move to Alert Level 1.
“It’s great to see a sense of normality returning to the city as businesses and facilities reopen and more people start using public transport,” he says.
“The challenge now will be to get our economy restarted and support local businesses to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.”
Customers will go back to front-door boarding on buses under Alert Level 1. There are no longer physical distancing requirements, so all stickers displaying limited capacity numbers as well as signs that told customers where they could or couldn’t sit will be removed. Please bear with us as it will take a few days for us to remove all of the signage from our busses, trains and ferries.
AT is continuing to ensure that all public transport is being cleaned throughout its daily service. Buses and trains are being spot checked, with surfaces being sanitised, and we have enhanced our cleaning regime to include antimicrobial protection fogging (spraying) of facilities and our fleet.
AT is continuing to encourage Aucklanders to consider travelling outside of usual peak hours (7:00-9:00am and 3:00-6:30pm) where possible and for businesses to continue offering flexible working arrangements. This will help reduce peak congestion and continues to build on some of the progress made during the various Alert Levels in helping make sure everyone can get to where they need to go quickly and safely.
To help encourage off-peak travel, AT will continue to offer a 30% discount on AT HOP fares for adults who travel by bus or train on weekdays after 9am and before 3pm for the rest of June. The discount also applies after 6:30pm, until the end of service, Monday to Friday only.
For now, we will continue to only accept AT HOP card payments on vehicles as this will help us to support contact tracing requirements should they become necessary. If customers need assistance in obtaining or loading an AT HOP card, they can visit a customer service centre or call 09 355 3553.
AT Mobile and HOP cards
Now with public transport returning to normal services and capacity levels, we have continued to improve our AT Mobile app to help Aucklanders plan their trips and get around the city efficiently.
Our live occupancy feature, which displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time so customers will know how busy it will be before they board, now also appears under the journey planner area of the app. We have also added the ability to check the status of a train line in the app so customers can now know the information before they even head out the door. AT Mobile can be download at: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/more-services/mobile-services/
Because contact tracing will still be needed if there are any new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, we strongly recommend that customers register their AT HOP card. Those who do not already have an AT HOP card can find a retailer at: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/at-hop-retailers/
Customer service centres
Most AT customer service centres at public transport hubs have re-opened with some changes at Manukau Train Station and New Lynn. Botany will remain temporarily closed.
Manukau Train Station’s service centre will be remain temporarily closed and we encourage customers to use the many self-service options available such as auto top-up, top-up machines at stations, online top-up and top-up within our AT Mobile app. Customers can also easily access the main customer service centre in the nearby Manukau Bus Station, which is just a one-minute walk away.
Our customer service centre at New Lynn will re-open in one location only (prior to lockdown we had two booths). Customers will still be able to access the same services they’ve been able to pre-lockdown and, again, we encourage the use of our many self-service options.
Active modes and keeping safe
Almost half of all Aucklanders (47%) are walking more than they did pre-lockdown with 14% cycling more often.
With that in mind we expect to continue to see more people walking or cycling as a transport choice to get to work, school or for local shopping trips when we move into Alert Level 1. We are also reminding people to look out for vulnerable road users when they travel. More than ever people are using their road space to walk or use a bike, and as a team of 1.4M Aucklanders we can all play a role in keeping everyone safe.
For more information on walking and cycling visit https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/
AT projects will now follow Alert Level 1 requirements, which means the need for physical distancing has been removed and the focus will be on hygiene, contact tracing and ensuring workers stay at home if sick.
The public will see little change under Alert Level 1 other than some construction areas potentially expanding to use areas previously set aside for physical distancing. Project timelines remain under review.
We know these past few months have been unusual and stressful times for everyone. We want to say thank you to all front-line workers who have kept the city moving during each of the Alert Levels, as well as Aucklanders for their understanding and patience. We ask that everyone continues to be kind to each other as the city, and the country, begins this new normal.
The best place to find the latest information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is on the Government’s special COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 page is at: https://at.govt.nz/COVID-19
For any other queries, the Auckland Transport call centre is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 09 355 3553.
Govt extends support schemes for businesses
- Extra 40,000 businesses to be eligible for wage subsidy extension
- Small business cashflow support application period extended
The Government is today announcing further support for businesses that continue to be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the broader economy becomes one of the most open in the world following the success of New Zealand’s public health efforts.
A change in criteria for the extended wage subsidy scheme means an extra 40,000 businesses will be eligible. After feedback from businesses, the Government has taken the decision to change the required revenue drop threshold from 50% to 40%. Up to 230,000 businesses are now forecast be eligible for the new 8-week scheme from 10 June, covering up to 910,000 workers.
Small businesses are also being given more time to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, with the application date being extended from 12 June to 24 July.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the changes show the Government is working with the business community to put considerable support in place to protect jobs and incomes during the 1-in-100 year global economic shock caused by COVID-19.
“We moved quickly to put the wage subsidy in place to cushion the blow. We’ve also shown we will move quickly to make changes so support is targeted to where it is needed most, based on feedback from our regular engagement with the business community.
“While many New Zealanders are now back at work and our economy is one of the most open in the world, there are businesses that will feel the impact of this global pandemic for longer. The tourism, retail and hospitality sectors will in particular be supported by the extended wage subsidy and cashflow support.”
Carmel Sepuloni said the wage subsidy was successfully protecting jobs and giving businesses the ability to stay connected to their workers as the economy reopened. The scheme has paid out $10.997 billion to date, covering 1.66 million jobs.
“Nearly two thirds of businesses surveyed said the wage subsidy meant they were better able to use other cashflow for non-staff overheads, like commercial rent. About 89% said the wage subsidy will help them keep operating for the foreseeable future, while only 6% of those surveyed have indicated they are considering redundancies in the next few months.”
Stuart Nash said the extension to the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme recognised that many businesses were still planning for the future as the economy opened up more quickly than expected following the success of New Zealand’s public health response.
“The high level of demand we’ve seen for these interest-free loans to date shows we made the right decision to support SMEs with direct lending from the Government, through IRD. Extending the application date will give business owners the confidence that support is available if needed as the economy opens up.”
To date, more than $1.18 billion has been disbursed to more than 70,000 small businesses under the cashflow scheme. The loans are interest-free if repaid within a year. Businesses have five years to pay the loans off, with no repayments required during the first two years.
The changes to the extended wage subsidy scheme mean it is now forecast to provide between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion of support to businesses to help them with their wage bills, up from a top estimate of $3.2 billion under the old threshold. This will be funded through the COVID Response and Recovery Fund.
The Government has also amended the revenue test under the extended scheme so that the business must have a revenue loss of at least 40% for a 30-day period in the 40 days immediately prior to the application date (but beginning no earlier than 10 May 2020) versus the nearest comparable period last year.
The wage subsidy and small business cashflow scheme are part of the extensive support the Government has made available for businesses, which includes:
- The $11 billion wage subsidy and $3.9 billion extended wage subsidy
- The $5.2 billion Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
- $3.1 billion for business tax refunds through the loss carry-back scheme
- $2.8 billion for building depreciation tax deductions and other tax measures
- The $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee
- Commercial rent support, including $40 million to cover arbitration costs
- The $400 million initial support for the Tourism sector
- A $600 million aviation support package
- Funding for business advice through the Regional Business Partner Network
- A $400 million package to encourage R&D
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 7
Paul L’Amie from BonAccord, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 6
Michelle Maitland from George Walkers, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 22.05.2020
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 5
Wayne Eccles, of Anglo Engineering, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 21.05.2020
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 4
Mike Hannan, Co-owner at Spark Hub Waitakere, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 20.05.2020
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 3
Sophia Bristow, Co-owner at Eurotech Design, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 19.05.2020
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 2
Bernie McCrea, RBA Chairman and Authorised Financial Adviser for the Abbott Insurance Group, has a conversation with Kristin Harper about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 18.05.2020
Rosebank Business Leadership Series – Episode 1
Stefan Crooks the Managing Director from the Westie Food Group has a conversation with Kristin about the last eight weeks under Lockdown.
Covid 19: News 12.05.2020
EMA Webinar Series – Anchoring on E-Commerce – A practical starters guide on your virtual shop window
Thu, May 14, 2020 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Pivot your revenue model to digital and shift your online store from a transactional to a full service experience that leaves your customers inspired, intrigued and wanting more.
Join us for a live webinar and hear from Julian Bartram, Local Community Manager for Shopify, as he breaks down the practical capabilities and opportunities the Shopify platform provides, and how you can utilise the tools to drive repeat business with your customers.
Travis O’Keefe, CEO of Tewhare Hukahuka & Nuku, will join to dive deep into your questions around e-commerce and how SMEs can level up their online trade. In this live Q&A our speakers will answer your pressing questions so you know how to drive customer retention, personalisation, two-way data streams, fostering long term engagement and loyalty.
No matter where you are in your business digital journey, ensure your online experience tells your story and keeps your customers coming back for more.
News from Auckland Transport
Transport in Auckland under Alert Level 2
The Government has announced that New Zealand will be moving to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on 13 May 2020.
The Government has advised that the general rule for Alert Level 2 is to play it safe. This means that if you are feeling sick you should stay home. Do not go to work or school. Do not socialise, and if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 you should avoid using public transport when travelling to a medical appointment.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the move to Level 2.
“After seven weeks in lockdown, Aucklanders will be able to move around more freely once we enter Level 2 on Thursday,” he says.
“It’s good news for Aucklanders and for the many businesses that will be able to reopen.
“Please remember to keep up with physical distancing and the heightened hygiene focus which we have learned over recent months.
“And we need, all of us, to avoid any behaviour which might increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19. The last thing we want is to have to return to Level 3 or Level 4 lockdown.”
Public transport services will return to normal levels while we are at Alert Level 2 so people can travel to where they need to go. However, please note that the Government has advised that you must not travel to events which do not meet the requirements for gatherings at Alert Level 2.
Aucklanders are also advised that fare collection on public transport, as well as the collection of parking fees and enforcement of time restrictions and special vehicle lanes will re-commence when we move to Alert Level 2.
Public transport users are also advised that passenger capacity on buses, trains and ferries will be significantly lower than what was available prior to COVID-19. This is because of the need to maintain physical distancing onboard public transport vehicles as required by the Government for Alert Level 2.
We therefore ask our customers to ensure that they plan their journey ahead with the AT Mobile app, which now also displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, or the journey planner on our website.
Alternative ways of working under Alert Level 2 are also being encouraged by the Government, such as remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing, staggering meal breaks and flexible leave.
Auckland Transport also encourages Aucklanders to consider travelling outside of usual peak hours (7:00-9:00am and 3:00-7:00pm) where possible. This not only supports physical distancing as more people return to work, but also helps reduce peak congestion and the strain on public transport to make sure everyone can get to where they need to go quickly and safely.
Many Aucklanders chose to walk or cycle while we were at Alert Level 3 and 4 and we encourage people to continue doing so as this is a great option to maintain safe physical distancing. AT is in the process of reviewing the effectiveness of the temporary walking and cycling lanes that were introduced at Alert Level 3. Some of these lanes may continue to operate at Alert Level 2 in order to help ensure that people on bikes and walking can stay safe and maintain the physical distance requirements that are so important to helping us break the chain of COVID-19 infection.
Businesses and organisations with large numbers of employees may need to look at a wide variety of transport options and actively plan to accommodate their employee’s needs. For travel planning resources and advice for businesses please visit https://at.govt.nz/driving-parking/ways-to-get-around-auckland/working-with-businesses/workplace-travel-planning/
The Government has also advised that domestic travel is allowed within New Zealand, but to follow public health guidance.
For more information of where and when you are permitted to travel under Alert Level 2 go to: www.covid19.govt.nz
Public Transport will be operating to normal schedules and with fare collection resuming under Alert Level 2. Cash is still not being accepted.
Physical distancing must be observed on all bus, train and ferry services with one-metre distance required between other passengers. While we will be operating to normal schedules, we will be running at about 43% of normal passenger capacity while under Alert Level 2 to make sure safe physical distancing can be achieved. Please note that standing on buses, trains or ferries will not be allowed while we are at Alert Level 2.
There will be signage on board buses and trains to guide customers to where they can and cannot sit based on physical distancing restrictions.
Physical distancing of two metres must still be observed at all of our facilities such as stations, platforms and stops.
Customers may not be able to get on the bus, train or ferry that they want to because of available space to maintain safe physical distancing. To help with this, our AT Mobile app now displays how many people are on a bus or train service at any given time, so customers will know if one-metre distancing will be achievable before they board. In addition, all buses will display the number of people it can take with physical distancing restrictions in place. The AT Mobile app and journey planner on our website will also tell you when the next service is.
For the majority of buses, customers must use the rear door to get on and off the bus. This is to help ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible by minimising the physical contact between customers and bus drivers. In some rare cases, boarding will be necessary though the front door on small buses.
Customers who use a wheel chair or other mobility device or require driver assistance can still use the front door of buses. This also applies to vision impaired customers – we ask drivers to assist them through the front door.
AT is ensuring all public transport is being cleaned throughout its daily service. Buses and trains are being spot checked, with surfaces being sanitised, and we have enhanced our cleaning regime to include antimicrobial protection fogging (spraying) of facilities and our fleet.
Cash is still not being accepted under Alert Level 2. We strongly recommend that you register your AT HOP card to help with contact tracing should it be required. This will also allow us to monitor passenger numbers and make fast adjustments to services if required due to changes in demand. We will be working to make those changes as quickly as possible and again advise customers to plan their journey ahead.
Those who do not already have an AT HOP card can find a retailer at: https://at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry/at-hop-card/at-hop-retailers/
We anticipate that public transport will be a lot busier under Alert Level 2 so, if people can, they should consider walking or riding a bike as it may be a good option for some returning to work or school.
Our AT HOP free public WiFi was disabled during Alert Level 3 to discourage people congregating at rail stations and bus interchanges. This will continue to be the case during Alert Level 2.
AT-contracted school bus services will operate during Alert Level 2. Following the Government’s guidelines, physical distancing measures will be different to our public transport services but standing on buses will not be permitted.
Working closely with the schools, AT has several measures to support contact tracing for all passengers. Hand sanitiser will also be made available for students boarding and departing the bus, in addition to the bus being cleaned in accordance with Government guidance.
As we saw with Alert Level 3, we will again see roads become busier throughout Auckland during Alert Level 2.
We ask that Aucklanders minimise any ‘non-essential’ travel and make sure that those driving do so safely while staying aware of other road users.
With freight services returning to normal levels, there will be more heavy vehicles on the road at all times of the day.
Construction sites have also restarted, meaning more construction vehicles on the road and temporary traffic management. Prepare for possible delays to your journey.
The move to Alert Level 2 also sees more work on our roads. Activities such as resealing, footpath repairs and cleaning out of drains which were paused have restarted at pace.
Other organisations such as Watercare, power lines companies, and other utilities have also begun work on that was previously programmed.
As a result, people will notice more activity in the road corridor. Please be aware of workers, drive to the conditions and expect delays throughout the city as these projects get back on track.
Customer service centres
We still need to ensure there is managed interaction between our staff and customers under Alert Level 2.
During this time, we still recommend customers use self-service options such as ordering an AT HOP card online, setting up their account to auto-top up or simply going online to top-up an AT HOP card. Journey planning can also be done via the AT website or app.
Our call centres remain open and customers can speak to us by calling 09 366 6400.
If customers are unable to access self-service options, the following customer service centres will be open but will have reduced staff numbers:
- Britomart ticket windows
- Manukau Bus Station
- New Lynn ticket window
- Smales Farm
- Papakura Train Station
The following customer service centres will remain closed while at Alert Level 2:
- Manukau Train Station
- New Lynn (ticket office windows will remain open and provide all services)
- Downtown ferry terminal
At this stage we are still unable to accept cash payments for AT HOP card top-ups at customer service centres, however customers will be able to use EFTPOS.
Parking and outdoor activities
Paid parking will resume for both on and off-street parking under Alert Level 2. Enforcement of parking restrictions, bus lanes and other special vehicle lanes will also resume.
If you are walking or cycling, make sure you are keeping two-metre distance from other people and their ‘bubbles’. Where available please use grass berms and other available space in the road reserve to achieve this.
AT is in the process of reviewing the effectiveness of the temporary walking and cycling lanes that were introduced at Alert Level 3. Some of these lanes may continue to operate at Alert Level 2 in order to help ensure that people on bikes and walking can stay safe and maintain the physical distance requirements that are so important to helping us play it safe.
In addition, we are investigating providing temporary protection at existing painted cycle lanes at key locations to further improve safety for people on bikes.As the demand for travel around Auckland changes at Alert Level 2, we will continue to monitor the network in real time to minimise any disruptions and quickly respond to incidents that may occur.
Leisure boating and all water activities are now allowed under Alert Level 2.
Harbourmaster work under Alert Level 2 will include resuming maintenance of buoys and beacons, as well as the disposal of abandoned vessels and wrecks. Other usual business, such as compliance monitoring, will return to normal levels while maintaining physical distancing requirements.
Walking and cycling
Almost half of all Aucklanders (47%) are walking more than they did pre-lockdown with 14% cycling more often.
With that in mind we expect to continue to see more people walking or cycling as a transport choice to get to work, school or for local shopping trips when we move into Alert Level 2. We are also reminding people to look out for vulnerable road users when they travel. More than ever people are using their road space to walk or use a bike, and as a team of 1.4M Aucklanders we can all play a role in keeping everyone safe.
Some of the pop-up spaces that were rolled out during Alert Level 3 may continue to operate for Alert Level 2 with the addition of some new spaces to allow for physical distancing, we ask that people use the pop-up spaces whenever possible. For more information on walking and cycling visit https://at.govt.nz/cycling-walking/
AT restarted work across 160 sites from Tuesday 28 April under Alert Level 3 restrictions. Each site has been operating under strict Health and Safety protocols based on Ministry of Health Guidance and industry best practice.
These measures will not change significantly under Alert Level 2 and will continue to include: physical distancing, compulsory PPE, hygiene practices, recording site entry and exit and separating teams into zones on our larger sites.
Inductions for new project staff and compulsory COVID 19 education and training will be part of ongoing site protocols while in Alert Level 2, plus any new restarted work will require contractors to submit COVID 19 Health and Safety plans and protocols to demonstrate a safe working environment.
Although our aim is to return to normal levels of productivity as quickly as possible to minimise delays and help spur the local economy, our priority remains ensuring the safety of our workers and the general public. As such, the pace of work under Alert Level 2 may not be as rapid as it is under normal circumstances.
AT will continue to maximise opportunities to accelerate productivity where possible until we can return to normal conditions. These measures may include extending working hours and expanding work sites to take advantage of less traffic on the road.
All project timelines are under review pending an assessment of the impact of COVID-19.
Engagement (both informing and consulting communities on upcoming projects) will begin again under Alert Level 2 except for the following channels:
- No drop-in sessions or public meetings
- No, or very limited, face-to-face meetings with members of the public, stakeholders or elected members
Instead of face-to-face communication, AT will engage via channels such as telephone calls, conference calls, email, Facebook live and webcasts.
All AT offices will re-open at Alert Level 2 but with only up to 25% of staff allowed in the building at any one time to maintain effective physical distancing measures. We will gradually increase the number of staff allowed within offices in the coming weeks and remaining staff will continue to work from home. During Level 2 external visitors are not encouraged to come into our offices unless absolutely essential. Any visitor that does enter an AT office will be asked to register their full contact details at reception areas and will be expected to comply with physical distancing measures that will be in place.
We know this has been a challenging time for us all. We ask that people continue to be understanding and patient of everyone else who is in the same situation and appreciate everyone’s cooperation so far under Alert Levels 4 and 3.
Again, please try to avoid traveling during peak hours of the day to help make sure everyone can get to where they need to go safely.
The best place to find the latest information about the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is on the Government’s special COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
Auckland Transport’s COVID-19 page, which includes up to date public transport timetables, is at: https://at.govt.nz/COVID-19
For any other queries the Auckland Transport call centre is available 24 hours/ 7 days a week 09 355 3553
Covid 19: News 5.05.2020
Covid 19: News 30.04.2020
Webinar Replay: Embrace current times and make the most of this period through social media. By Stuart Thompson, Live Wire Media
Covid 19: News 29.04.2020
A message to all Kelston and New Lynn & Avondale businesses
We want to start by saying thank you every business in the electorates. Your actions over this past month have contributed massively to our team of five million’s effort to eliminate COVID-19 from New Zealand. What we’ve achieved together so far is huge.
Whether you’re an essential business that’s been operating through the lockdown, a business that’s stood by its workers by being part of the Government’s Wage Subsidy Scheme, or you’ve been doing your bit by stopping operations and staying home, you’ve made a big difference to New Zealand’s future. Thank you.
Now that we have left Alert Level 4 lockdown and are now in Alert Level 3 and then hopefully moving to Alert Level 2 in the weeks ahead, it’s time for our local businesses to start to get back to work. That’s why we are writing to you today.First, there’s still plenty of support available for businesses, because we know the recovery is only just beginning. Our continued strong health response to COVID-19 is also New Zealand’s best economic strategy, but it does mean it’ll be a while before things return towards normal.There is specific support for firms in lots of different situations:
• If you’ve got concerns about being able to pay your staff, and you haven’t already received support from the Government’s Wage Subsidy Scheme, you can still apply. Already the Government has paid out over $10 billion under this scheme to affected businesses, who’ve on-passed that money to more than 1.6 million workers.
• If you’re looking at a tax loss for this financial year or the next, have a look into the Government’s tax loss carry-back scheme. Once the law is passed, it’ll let you get cash refunds from IRD for the tax you paid on profits last year to help offset your current losses.
• If you’re a sole trader or small business worried about immediate term bills, you might benefit from talking to your bank about their mortgage deferral programmes to help you with cashflow now.
• Speaking of cashflow, the Government has also introduced other tax measures to help get money into businesses’ bank accounts. Check them out.
• If you’re worried about your medium term prospects, you should talk with your bank about their new Government-backed loan programs for COVID-affected firms. If you talked with the bank a few weeks ago it can pay to have a second conversation, as we understand their programmes have developed more in recent times.
In addition to these programmes, we know the Government is continuing to listen to businesses emerging concerns, and is working to make more support available in coming weeks and months.
Second, as you prepare to resume operations, remember that doing business at Alert Level 3 different from normal. This is to protect your workers’ and customers’ health. So please remember:
1. If your business requires close physical contact, it can’t operate.
2. Your staff should continue to work from home if they can.
3. Customers cannot come onto your premises, unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
4. Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
5. Basic hygiene measures must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers must stay home if they are sick.
6. If you used PPE in your business before COVID-19, then keep using it in the same way. If you didn’t use PPE in your business before COVID-19, you don’t need it now. This is advice for retailers, manufacturers and the service industries. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.
7. You must meet all other health and safety obligations.
Again, thank you for all that you’re doing to help New Zealand unite against COVID-19. Over this last month we’ve taken a huge step towards eliminating the virus in New Zealand.
But it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
The discipline we have displayed at Alert Level 4 must now become the hallmark of our actions in Alert Level 3.
Kia kaha, take care, and let’s finish the job.
Hon Carmel Sepuloni, MP for Kelston
Dr Deborah Russell, MP for New Lynn
Covid 19: News 21.04.2020
The Golden Rules for life at Alert Level 3
- Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials then you must be at home, the same as at Alert Level 4.
- Work and learn from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home. At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.
- Make your business COVID-19 safe. COVID-19 has spread in workplaces, so the quid pro quo of being able to open is doing it in a way that doesn’t spread the virus.
- Stay regional. You can exercise at parks or beaches within your region, but the closer to home the better. Activities must be safe – keep 2 metres away from anybody not in your bubble. Make minimal trips.
- Keep your bubble as small as possible. If you need to, you can expand your bubble a small amount to bring in close family, isolated people or caregivers.
- Wash your hands often with soap. Then dry them. Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- If you are sick, stay at home and quickly seek advice from your GP or Healthline about getting a test. There is no stigma to COVID-19. We will only be successful if everyone is willing to play their part in finding it wherever it is.
Businesses can use the week ahead to prepare for Alert Level 3. Any preparation should be done in line with Alert Level 4 restrictions.
The Golden Rules for businesses at Alert Level 3
- If your business requires close physical contact it can’t operate.
- Your staff should work from home if they can.
- Customers cannot come onto your premises. Unless you are a supermarket, dairy, petrol station, pharmacy or permitted health service.
- Your business must be contactless. Your customers can pay online, over the phone or in a contactless way. Delivery or pick-up must also be contactless.
- Basic hygiene measures must be maintained. Physical distancing, hand washing and regularly cleaning surfaces. Workers must stay home if they are sick.
- If you used PPE in your business before COVID-19, then keep using it in the same way. If you didn’t use PPE in your business before COVID-19, you don’t need it now. This is advice for retailers, manufacturers and the service industries. Different advice applies to essential healthcare workers, border agencies, courts and tribunal staff, first responders and corrections staff.
Visit health.govt.nz for more advice
- You must meet all other health and safety obligations.
Covid 19: News 20.04.2020
Digital technology can help your business be more resilient – find out how your online presence stacks up and how you can do things better
Digital technology is changing the way we do business and how we connect with our customers, suppliers and employees. Adopting new technologies and optimising your online presence can help streamline many areas of your business.
To guide you through key areas that digital technology could help your business right now, complete this free online assessment to access knowledge and tools to:
- Strength your online presence
- Enable remote working and ecommerce
- Identify social and digital marketing opportunities
- Streamline business systems and data accessibility with cloud computing
Take the next step today www.ateed.assessment.nz
The free tool is being made available by Auckland’s economic development agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), in partnership with social enterprise Digital Journey.
Covid 19: News 17.04.2020
Workers and businesses
Most, but not all businesses can start to open under Alert Level 3. They must take health measures to keep their workers safe.
- Workers must work from home if they can
- Workplaces must operate safely – keeping one metre between workers, recording who is working together, limiting interaction between groups of workers, disinfecting surfaces, and maintaining high hygiene standards
- Retail and hospitality businesses can only open for delivery and contactless pre-ordered pick up – customers cannot enter stores
- Supermarkets, dairies and petrol stations can continue to allow customers into their stores, with the same restrictions and measures in place as Alert Level 4
- Businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (e.g. hairdressing, massage, house cleaning, or door-to-door salespeople)
- Other in home services can be delivered if it is safe to do so (like tradespeople for repairs or installations) – keep two metre separation from those in the house
- Most workers will not require PPE to stay safe at work. Incorrectly used PPE can create more risk. Good hygiene measures like hand washing with soap and water, physical distancing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and wiping down surfaces is the best defence against COVID-19.
More detailed guidance for sectors will be made over the coming days.
Examples to help explain these measures
If you run a takeaway business, you can reopen it if you have pre-ordered contactless pick up, or can do home delivery.
A real estate agent can open, but people should work from home if they can. The agent can enter peoples homes, but not have customers in the office. You cannot run an open home. Construction businesses can start work again but strict hygiene measures must be put in place – and office staff who can work from home should do so.
Why can’t people queue or browse in a retail shop?
This is about managing the risk of transmission. Retail shops can be difficult to control in terms of physical distancing and keeping surfaces clean. Exceptions have been made for businesses like supermarkets, but right now the risk of transmission is too high to allow this more widely. Measures like drive through or home delivery better manage this risk, but unfortunately not everyone will be able to do this.
When will businesses that involve close personal contact be allowed to open?
Right now, the risk of transmission from people providing services that require close personal contact (e.g. hairdressers, manicurists, beauticians, domestic cleaners, personal trainers, gymnasiums) is too great. These businesses can resume under Alert Level 2, with appropriate health measures in place.
How do I find out about my rights as a worker, will wage subsidies continue?
You can get some good advice here, including on health and safety, financial support and speaking up.
Covid 19: News 9.04.2020
The short answer is: if these days are ‘otherwise working days’ then yes, you do. Treatment of public holidays has not changed under Alert Level 4.
Employment.govt.nz clearly states:
“If Fridays and Mondays are otherwise working days based on pre-COVID-19 working patterns, employees should be paid for the upcoming public holidays. The payment should be Relevant Daily Pay, or if it meets the criteria, can be Average Daily Pay.
Determining whether a day is an ‘otherwise working day’ should be based on the employee’s pre-lockdown working pattern. However, if the employer and employee have agreed to a permanent change, this new arrangement can be used to assess whether the day is an ‘otherwise working day’.”
So what does this mean in practice? Here are some break-downs: Continued here
Covid 19: News 7.04.2020
Re: Peninsula Medical Centre being a COVID19 Designated Testing Practice
The DHBs have asked some GP Practices to become designated testing practices for COVID-19, in order to increase national testing capacity. Peninsula Medical Centre has responded to the pressing health need of the community by accepting to be a Designated Testing Site for COVID 19. This is available to all members of the public as long as they meet the testing criteria (see below – based on case definition, which is subject to change).
The designated testing sites are GP practices that conduct their normal GP services and can operate testing independently and separately from their GP care. Therefore, ensuring the GP practice, staff and patients are safe. Vast majority of all consultations are now done remotely by phone or video, with only those deemed clinically necessary to be examined coming onsite.
We have been chosen by the DHBs to be a Designated Testing Practice for the following reasons:
- Reputation in the medical fraternity for maintaining professional standards and providing high quality care.
- Our facility offers adequate space and defined areas to ensure that testing can take place separately without there being any risk to others
- We are easily accessed – we are next to the motorway and off a main arterial route with plenty of parking
- We see it as being our responsibility to protect and care for our community
TESTING CENTRE DETAILS
Monday to Friday between 10.00am – 4.00 pm at 382 Te Atatu Road, Te Atatu Peninsula.
- Closed over Easter. Hours are subject to change.
Patients will be assessed and tested from within their car in the basement car park in a discreet manner providing privacy, security and shelter.
We will be operating under strict infection protocols protecting our staff and those being tested. There is total separation of testing from our GP clinic, we can assure people that it is safe for patients who need to access medical care at the GP clinic. There will be a security guard on site during testing hours.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH TESTING GUIDELINES (as at 06/04/2020)
- Clinical Criteria – A suspect case has the following
- Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Head-cold (e.g. runny nose, sneezing, post-nasal drip)
- Loss of smell
- With or without symptoms of fever
- Priority Groups for Testing:
- Recent travel within the last 14 days with symptoms
- A health worker with symptoms
- Essential skills worker with symptoms & close contact with a confirmed or probable case
- People meeting the clinical criteria who reside in (or are being admitted into) a large OR vulnerable communal environment e.g. aged residential care, or large extended families in confined living conditions
- Hospital inpatients who meet the clinical criteria
- NOTE: A Probable case = close contact with a confirmed case, therefore considered to have COVID-19. As per Ministry of Health probable cases do not require testing.
- Any acute respiratory infection with at least one of the following symptoms:
Any person needing testing should drive to 382 Te Atatu Road.
Phone the mobile number that is advertised on site and await instructions.
Covid 19: News 6.04.2020
Commercial Lease during COVID 19: Your Rights and Options as a Landlord – By Bret Gower, Smith & Partners Lawyers
The most pressing issue for commercial landlords and tenants is the question of paying rent during the lockdown period when their business premises cannot be accessed. The key point to start with is your individual lease – as leases are not all standard, and the provisions for this situation vary. Experienced commercial lawyer, Bret Gower outlines the rights and obligations of a commercial landlord in his article here.
Queues at West Auckland Liquor Stores set to Ease Following New Restrictions
Queues at West Auckland liquor stores are set to ease as the result of new restrictions on the sale of spirits through the outlets.
From Monday, The Trusts retail stores will no longer sell spirits and premixed (RTDs) – reducing the need for out of area consumers to travel across town to purchase alcohol. The policy will last while the country remains at COVID-19 alert Level 4.
The proactive move will see the product mix aligned with supermarkets and other retailers open during the current lockdown which sell only beer, wine and cider, and comes following consultation between The Trusts and NZ Police.
The new regulations were put in place after the retailer’s analysis of purchase data in some of their stores showed the sale of spirits as a proportion of total alcohol revenue had lifted significantly since the lockdown began and the collection of customer addresses revealed up to a quarter of them lived outside of West Auckland.
Matt Williams CEO of The Trusts says their first priority is the safety of the general public and staff.
“While there was a negligible change to our customer profiles in some of our stores, we were greatly concerned to find there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that a number of people are travelling from other parts of town to purchase from us.
“We don’t believe this is in keeping with the Government’s mandate to restrict the movement of people and the spread of COVID-19 and, as a result, we have modified our product mix – reducing the incentive for Aucklanders to leave their area.
“We regret the inconvenience this may cause to our West Auckland community who have supported us throughout the lockdown, however we know they will understand that as a community-minded organisation health and safety must take precedence,” he says.
Williams says the store’s trading hours will remain the same for the time being but are continuous review in response to the level of customer demand. Similarly, the sale of spirits policy will be reviewed when the country moves to alert Level 3.
The retail purchase of spirits and RTDs will still be possible through a number of online retailers around the country.
Covid 19: News 3.04.2020
New Zealand went to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 on 11:59pm, Wednesday 25 March, at which point all non-essential businesses had to close, and people were required to begin a period of self-isolation in their homes.
We will be at Alert Level 4 for four weeks, at least, so for now, this enforced period of inactivity is the new normal. We know it’s been a hell of a time for businesses. We’ve been swamped with enquiries and calls for help and guidance.
Our message right now is this: stay steady and pause your restructures and redundancies if you can. Retain your team at home and pay them using the government wage subsidy.
If you need to make changes to employment conditions to help you get through or you need to look at redundancies in the future, we’re here to assist you.
So let’s look at the issues and implications for employers (and employees) during COVID-19 Alert Level 4.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
Covid 19: News 2.04.2020
Tony’s view COVID-19
By Tony Alexander – independent economic commentary
To help Kiwis make better decisions for their businesses, investments, home purchases, and people by writing about the economy in an easy to understand manner.
Housing Negatives and Positives
This Supplement is devoted entirely to housing. I’m going to attempt to produce as long a list as possible of the factors which will be impinging on our housing markets over the coming months and longer term as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. There are sure to be other factors which I miss or which have yet to become apparent, and, in the absence of any experience at all of how our economy behaves during a pandemic, it is impossible to make strong statements about the relative strength of the various factors.
All we can each do is try and get our own personal feel for how things will go based on an individual balancing of the positive and the negative factors. And perhaps upon the basis of what one feels, reasoned decisions can be made regarding how to manage one’s existing property investments and what to do with regard to new purchases over the remainder of this year.
And one final comment, this downturn is unique and it is bad. But many of us have lived through some rough periods in the past, including the late-1970s and early-1980s when there were deepening restrictions on what we could do, bad government policies, near bankruptcy for the country, and the resulting need for massive changes – Rogernomics. We all learnt to adapt to those different turbulent environments which ran almost two decades from 1974-92, including the 60% sharemarket fall of 1987-88. We are not facing anything remotely approaching that lengthy epoch in New Zealand’s history.
Absence of income means inability to raise a deposit, get a mortgage, and perhaps even continue to keep the house one already owns. This is the most difficult factor to place a magnitude on.
Loss of job security
Even people in work will feel reluctant to purchase large items like cars, couches, and houses for fear of losing work and being unable to service the debt. Some may sell to go renting.
200,000 Temporary Working Visa Foreigners Not Needed
In recent years NZ has become dependent upon foreign labour. Most of these people are in low skill jobs, many in tourism and hospitality. Most will leave in the coming year. This is good for Kiwi employment. But it means housing is no longer needed for these people.
To improve their ability to service debt some people will seek to trade down to a less expensive property.
Perhaps pleased with family experiences during lockdown some people may choose to shift one partner from full-time work to part-time or quit work altogether, in order to have more time with children. This transition may entail shifting to a less expensive house, and maybe to the regions.
Temporary Net Migration Stalling
Over the past year we saw a net migration inflow to New Zealand of 45,000 people, or about 3,800 a month and 865 a week. For the rest of this year it seems valid to assume no foreigners will be able to
shift here. However, almost no Kiwis are going to leave, and those coming in on flights are more likely to be Kiwi tourists returning home than people permanently shifting back. A reduced net migration inflow this coming year is likely – how much we cannot know.
Loss of Retirement Wealth
Some retired people have seen their investment portfolios lose value. To improve their cash flow position some may downsize their house. Some may seek a reverse mortgage.
Inner-city apartment rents and prices will fall in the absence of many foreign students this year, perhaps most missing next year, and fewer on a long-term basis.
The complete absence of tourism this year and the much lower numbers of inbound travellers for years to come will bring Airbnb dwellings back to the market for long-term rental and home ownership purposes. This is good news for the worsening availability of housing around New Zealand.
Non-Bank Lenders Downsizing
New lenders, especially out of Australia, have been expanding their activities in New Zealand over the past year. Now they are pulling back. Reduced availability of finance will affect some potential buyers.
While lending on houses is a low risk activity for a bank, they will pull back from the market slightly. This won’t be so much because of risk and funding (as discussed below for developers), but staffing resources. Banks will be concentrating on servicing existing clients through to the other side. They won’t have time or resources for new customers to any great degree until next year perhaps.
KiwiSaver Funds Down
Some young people who were going to use their KiwiSaver funds for a deposit were unwisely in an aggressive or balanced fund when they should have been in a conservative fund. These people will have to delay their purchase for perhaps 6 – 12 months.
Government Bias Toward Tenants
The rents freeze and no evictions for rent non-payment period extension from 14 to 60 days are understandable developments given the current circumstances. But this reminder to landlords that they have a social responsibility to their tenants will be a surprise to those who have kept themselves distant from their income source. Some will sell, encouraged also by this year’s introduction of ring-fencing and planned extension of no-cause termination periods.
Rents Will Fall
Reduced employment, visa holders leaving, students not arriving, suggest investor calculations based upon rising rent assumptions will need to be redone. This will discourage some investors whilst leaving purchasing space for the professionals and those with a long-term focus.
Pullback from Regions
Over the past four years investors have switched their focus from Auckland out to the regions. We’ve seen this before; it often does not end well with over-supplies revealed in some locations. It is likely that newly risk-averse investors will now switch back to a main centre focus, just as people seeking work will gravitate to the main centres.
Few Aspirational Purchases
When the small to medium-sized business sector does well, owners buy holiday homes, homes in wealthier suburbs, homes in elite school zones, homes on the coast. Such buying will be weak for the next 1-2 years.
Come December and January there is likely to be a baby boom as people engage in relations whilst in lockdown. This will necessitate some upgrading of house size for some families.
Low Interest Rates
Mortgage rates were at record lows heading into this recession, they have gone lower, and they probably will not go up to any noticeable degree for three years. This matters tremendously with regard to cash flow pressures forcing people to sell and is a key difference between the conditions which led to average house price falls during the GFC, Asian Crisis, and 1987 crash, versus now. Investors will feel encouraged to quit bank deposits and seek property yield.
Higher Long-Term Net Migration
By taking action early in our pandemic cycle, we stand a good chance of becoming virus-free whilst woe continues elsewhere. We know that events such as this which turn people’s worlds upside down can have profound impacts on long-term lifestyle choices. There is a strong possibility that many of the one million Kiwis offshore plus their partners and children will choose to live back here. More foreigners are likely to seek to become Kiwi residents also. These two factors may see a further structural rise in our annual net migration inflows which have averaged 29,000 p.a. over the past ten years.
Working from Home
Many more people will be doing this after lockdown than before, on a permanent basis. The extra time spent at home may lead some to shift further from the city centre for more space, some to the regions for more affordability, some to upgrade their house for more space and outdoor access.
After being confined in an apartment for 4-8 weeks, some people may want to swap for a house.
Less Outbound Travel
Just as fewer people long-term will visit here, so too will fewer of us holiday overseas. At the moment our offshore travel has been costing $10bn per annum. Much of that in the future will be available to spend locally, perhaps on local holidays, and perhaps on a better house or even a holiday home down the track.
Young People Saving
Much attention has been made to reduced deposits for those young people who were going to use their KiwiSaver funds but who were in the wrong type of fund. But now they are realising how quickly a deposit can be built without spending $100 a week on coffee, more than that on drinking, eating out, new clothes and fancies. Given their small KiwiSaver balances, these affected young people (assuming they keep their jobs) will be back to their planned deposit size within a few months if they keep their non-spending habits up.
No new houses are being worked on for 1-2 months. This means slower supply growth
Banks are going to pull back aggressively from funding new property developments over at least the coming year for the following reasons. First the riskiness of new developments has increased as pre-sales are likely to be harder to get, and even the heightened risk of deposit forfeiture may mean some projects not started yet will not start, while others which have started will stop. Second, much as the Reserve Bank may be willing to supply whatever funding and liquidity banks need, real funding from the private sector is what matters for long-term bank sustainability and that is in shortish supply. Third, bank resources are going to be devoted to servicing existing clients for at least all this year. Banks may not have sufficient staff to assess the risk of new business to the safe degree which they would like.
Absence of a Pre-Recession Debt Binge
Household debt rose just 40% in the past five years versus 80% in the five years leading into the GFC, and 115% leading into the 1997/98 Asian Crisis. The presence of LVRs will have also kept the riskiness of mortgage lending down.
We Know This Recession is Temporary
We know some sectors have essentially gone, and the downturn this Autumn – Winter will be deep. But we can reasonably believe a vaccine will appear at worst 16 months from now if the scientists are correct. Before then we are likely to be virus-free. We know from China’s example that rigidly-enforced lockdowns do work. The city of Wuhan is slowly opening up again after two months of lockdown.
The Support Measures are Huge
There is simply nothing else in history which compares with the fiscal and monetary guns being brought to bear on the spiralling weakness which would otherwise play out in very bad degrees from Covid-19.
Anyone under stress can put their principal and/or interest payments on hold for up to six months. After that many will find their debt is still too burdensome and politely forced sales are likely to rise. But the spiral which might otherwise have developed is being avoided.
As most of the 200,000 people here on temporary work visas leave in the coming year or so, and jobs will have to be offered to Kiwis and not automatically rolled over into new visa holders, employment will improve for Kiwis.
There is friction in labour markets, which means it can take some time for people laid off in one industry or location to find work elsewhere. There will be some training required, but eventually the shortages of labour in many sectors will attract Kiwis and help soak up some of the unemployed.
Preference for Property
Just as Baby Boomers avoided shares following the 1987 crash and decimation of their wealth, so too will a new generation perhaps look more favourably at property as a long-term investment than they did before. Then again, the index fall back then was 60% versus only about 24% this time around. And this time there’s no debt funding of shares, or share clubs.
We entered this turbulent period with shortages of property in our main centres – but probably over-supplies in many regions, especially now. This main centre shortage means not just a physical shortage of property, but a shortage of listings also, Given the low interest rates and mortgage holiday it is extremely unlikely that listings will massively surge when our economy opens up again.
Covid 19: News 29.03.2020
Mayor Goff establishes Mayoral Business Advisory Panel
Mayor Phil Goff today announced the formation of a Mayoral Business Advisory Panel (COVID) to help work through the issues created by the COVID-19 lockdown and to assist the city’s transition back to normal economic activity when the lockdown is lifted.
“The Mayoral Business Advisory Panel brings together a range of leaders in the business and public sectors to ensure we are working together to address the challenges faced by Auckland businesses and workers during the lockdown period,” said Mayor Goff.
“I have spoken to the Prime Minister and she has appointed Hon Carmel Sepuloni as the liaison between myself and COVID Cabinet Committee to allow for feedback from this Advisory Panel directly into central government.
“The Advisory Panel allows for regular communication between Auckland Council, key government sectors and the business community, even during the lockdown period. It will identify issues needing to be addressed and opportunities to get through the difficulties caused by the unprecedented interruption in economic activity.
“Auckland is 38% of the country’s GDP and we have never had to shut the city down like this. These are extraordinary times and it is important that local government keeps engaged with our business community.
“The Business Advisory Panel is another mechanism of keeping abreast of what is going on in the city in addition to our other already established networks like local business associations, the IMSB and community and NGO organisations,” Mayor Goff said.
The Advisory Panel will act as a conduit for messages to be relayed to government and for responses back to the business community.
Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore said, “The initial membership of the Advisory Panel is a group of people who are well connected in Auckland from a range of industries that are most affected by the lockdown. Most of them wear several different hats but the aim has been to ensure we are looking at this issue from as many angels as possible.
“The Business Advisory panel is another method by which Auckland Council can achieve a deeper understanding of the serious challenges that are before businesses in our city and country areas. We need to fully understand these challenges and also the opportunities to get our business economies and employment moving again once we emerge from lock down.”
The Mayoral Business Advisory Panel (COVID) is comprised of:
- Ailsa Claire – CEO, Auckland District Health Board
- Peter Reidy – CEO, Fletcher Construction
- Mark Goldsmith – Regional Commissioner, Ministry of Social Development
- Brett O’Reilly – CEO, EMA
- Rachel Brown – CEO, Sustainable Business Network
- Derek McCormack – Vice-Chancellor, AUT
- Robert Reid – President, FIRST Union
- Grant Webster – CEO, Tourism Holdings Limited
Changes to the panel membership may be made over time.
In these turbulent times there will be a number of pressing issues you and your business will be facing. We surveyed our customers to understand their immediate needs and challenges and 4 themes emerged.
The Icehouse has support for businesses, please cheak out the links below.
Covid 19: News 27.03.2020
Regrettably in tougher economic times criminals and thieves are like rodents, they scramble for any morsel of food that is left unattended!
On the 25th March at 3.00 pm George Walkers Auctions at 353 Rosebank Road were the target of a daylight robbery by three hooded criminals, they were bravely fought off by the girls (no good men around when there wanted rings a bell) and nothing was stolen, and if by the grace of god their escape vehicle crashed in Rosebank Road and the three villains were arrested.
Lucky GIRLS (this time) and so this morning in conjunction with our Patrol supplier Active Security Services (who are resident in Rosebank Road) we are introducing a special daylight patrol service for our members at the special rate of $15.00+GST per call. This visit will take the form of a complete onsite check referred to as a Bed Down and it is suggested by Active Security that this occurs twice daily.
We are mindful that Security is like going to the dentist, it is seen as a grudge purchase but by this implementation our Security networks with this type of patrolling contact can only expand and the RBA are keen to see this offer being adopted, Please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or text or call Mike Gibson 0272940551 and we will arrange immediately.
Covid 19: News 26.03.2020
What are essential businesses?
• Accommodation services for essential workers and people who need to be isolated/quarantined
• Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries
Building and construction:
• Building and construction related to essential services, critical infrastructure, or immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work
Courts, tribunals and the justice system:
• Courts of New Zealand and tribunals
• Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission)
Fast-moving consumer goods:
• Businesses involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverages and other key consumer goods (but not take-away shops)
• Schools and educational facilities (e.g. early childhood centres)
• Banks, insurers and other financial institutions
• Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities
• Ambulance services
• Mortuary services
Local and national government:
• Any entity involved in Covid-19 response or that has Civil Defence/emergency management functions
• Key public services
Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing:
• Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products
• Food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
• Veterinary and animal health/welfare services
Public safety and national security:
• Emergency services
• Security and intelligence services
• Justice system
• Public safety and national security roles
• Any entity (including research organisations) involved in Covid-19 response, hazard monitoring, resilience, diagnostics for essential services
• Welfare and social services, including NGOs, which meet immediate needs (further guidance will be provided)
Transport and logistics:
• Transport services
• New Zealand Post and courier services
• Any small passenger service vehicle driver – including taxis and ride-share services
Utilities and communications, including supply chains:
• Electricity, gas, water, waste, fuel, telecommunication services, internet providers and media
Covid 19: News 23.03.2020
Start your action note page on a blank piece of paper (in other words what happened yesterday has gone and it’s what you do tomorrow that’s really important).
This is what we decided on Monday 16th March. Postponement of all RBA Events until the 31st of May 2020 at the earliest. We will then review for the next 3 months of June, July and August.
We will not be employing any new staff.
We have reallocated internal roles around what we perceive will be required for at least the next 3 months
We are thoroughly recommending you read the Spark Business Hub proposal about staff working from home (yes! they’re in Rosebank at 559 Rosebank Road, and ask for the special Data offer available. Call 0800 824 924
Less focus on new members and more focus on providing real pastoral care to our targeted rate and local businesses. We want to be your hot line.
If you’re confused about any 14 day stand down or other employee obligations call MyHR on 0800 694 764. Another local Rosebank business at your doorstep at Unit C, 485 Rosebank Road, and only a call away.
Let your Debtors become your best friends, visit and develop a person to person relationship with the traditional slower payers because if you don’t, the other bloke will!
Understand fully what your relationship is with your bank i.e. What is your overdraft limit if you increase it suddenly? It will happen to some so make sure your banker is your friend.
Don’t be frivolous with Patrol costs, Monitoring and other aspects. Thieves suffer too in times of hardship, they take more risks and become more adventurous. Remembering the RBA has their own Rosebank Security Company in Rosebank Security Services, with considerably lower overheads we discount our services to our members, call us on 09 820 0551 or Mike Gibson 0272 940 551.
I and our staff are committed to helping all Rosebank Businesses in any way we possibly can; employment related matters, new staff, contract staff, part time staff, EMA based advice line contacts. Also a great place for updates at this time https://covid19.govt.nz/
We are your Business Organization.
Cheers and best wishes
Mike Gibson, RBA Chief Executive