Businesses affected by the coronavirus can access immediate government support after two further initiatives were
approved by Cabinet yesterday, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says.
“To help protect jobs, Cabinet yesterday agreed to provide an extra $4 million to bolster the Regional Business Partners
programme to help businesses around the country impacted by COVID-19 with practical advice on issues such as payroll and
liaising with Inland Revenue on tax payments,” Phil Twyford said.
“Cabinet also agreed to establish up to 16 rapid response Ministry of Social Development teams to assist with immediate
needs such as helping move workers into other employment and referring those in need of further support to other
“This is on top of $11 million provided last week to help Tourism NZ boost visitor numbers.”
Phil Twyford is today visiting Gisborne Tairāwhiti where the slowdown in the forestry industry has already affected up
to 300 workers and their families. Forestry is the largest sector in Gisborne, making up more than 6 per cent of
region’s $2 billion GDP.
“Today I’ll be meeting with local forestry workers, contracting companies, social service providers and visiting
Eastland Port to hear how they are being affected.
“As well as putting additional business support into Tairāwhiti, our Government’s looking at creative solutions such as
using forestry workers to deal with our wilding pine issue in other parts of the country.
“The Provincial Growth Fund is funding local roading projects in the area and we’re also looking at whether this will
provide an opportunity to help retrain workers into an area where there are skill shortages.
“Our Government’s economic response to COVID-19 is focused on protecting jobs and supporting impacted workers and
businesses. Because of the underlying momentum in our economy, the Government’s surplus and low debt, we can bounce back
to the strong level of growth seen before the coronavirus appeared,” Phil Twyford said.