Weekly Digest – 23 June 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Wellington Placed Under Level 2 COVID-19 Restrictions

New restrictions on gatherings have been introduced in Wellington after a COVID-infected Australian visited a number of popular tourist locations in the capital.

Although this is not a lockdown, it is possible that one would come if unconnected coronavirus cases emerged in the community. The region would move to alert level 2 from 6 pm on Wednesday and continue until Sunday.

Under this alert level, gatherings will be limited to fewer than 100 people, masks are compulsory on public transport, and social distancing must be observed.

Hospitality venues can stay open if they’re seated, with separate tables attended by a single server. Travel from Wellington will also not be restricted.

NZ Resumes Travel Bubble With Victoria

New Zealand has resumed its quarantine-free travel bubble with Victoria starting midnight on Tuesday. This comes after Victoria recorded only one new locally acquired COVID-19 case on Monday.

Travellers will no longer be required to have a pre-departure coronavirus test. However, New Zealand has urged all travellers to continue monitoring for symptoms and check the Victorian Health website for updates on exposure sites.

NZ Pauses Travel Bubble with New South Wales

New Zealand has temporarily paused its travel bubble with NSW due to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the state. The pause came into effect at 11.59pm NZT on Tuesday and will be reviewed on Thursday.

Government Aiming to Vaccinate All Eligible Individuals Until the End of the Year

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced details of the government’s vaccine campaign and stated that they’re working towards vaccinating all eligible individuals until the end of the year.

Vaccines would be allocated according to age, with those over 60 years old to be offered one from 28 July and those over 55 from 11 Aug. Meanwhile, those over 45 years old would receive vaccine invitations from mid- to late August and people over 35 would be invited from mid- to late September. The rest would be eligible starting October.

Deadline Looms for Businesses to Become Accredited Migrant Employers

The government is phasing out its six migrant visa categories and combining them into a single scheme which puts more responsibility on the employer.

The Accredited Employer Work Visa will be introduced on 1 November. Those who want to hire migrants must first become accredited by demonstrating they were a good employer and their business was financially sound.

Government Contributes $100,000 Support for Auckland Tornado Damages

The government is injecting $100,000 to help rebuild communities recently damaged by the tornado in Papatoetoe, South Auckland. About 1200 homes were affected and some still don’t have electricity.

While council teams are still assessing the damages and the full cost, this initial support will help affected communities to get back on their feet.

An information hub has been set up at the Allan Brewster Leisure Centre, where affected individuals can speak to the Red Cross, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Insurance Council.

For those who require assistance but can’t get to the centre, you may call Auckland Emergency Management at 0800 22 22 00.

NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Extends Support for Pacific Fisheries

A five-year arrangement has been signed between the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), which involves a new $18 million fund for the ongoing, sustainable management of the Pacific’s offshore fisheries.

The funding will be used by the FFA for its services such as training, policy and technical advice, governance, fisheries surveillance, and economic data.

Training Incentive Allowance to Support 16,000 Kiwis

The government is bringing back the Training Incentive Allowance to support 16,000 New Zealanders to retrain and gain higher skills. An investment of $127 million will be given over four years from the COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund to reinstate this program.

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

Business Finance Guarantee loans can help small and medium businesses access credit for cash flow, capital assets and projects related to, responding to, or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

Applications for Business Finance Guarantee loans are open until 30 June 2021. If you need help or have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Free Online Digital Training and Support Tool

DigitalBoost.co.nz is a free training and support service to help businesses develop their digital capabilities. This includes providing support on cybersecurity and fraud prevention.

Get in touch with us if you need help with your business.

Short-term Absence Payment

This is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who can’t work from home and meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19 or are a ‘close contact’ who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2-week lump sum per eligible employee.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme here.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Five Strategies For Building Customer Loyalty

Gaining customer loyalty can add significant value to your business. However, small businesses encounter challenges when it comes to keeping their customers. This Forbes article shares some effective strategies to acquire loyal customers.

  • Know the values of your brand. Use effective marketing strategies to commercialise your brand and communicate your values in the initial phases.
  • Offer excellent customer service. Create a good first impression to build a sense of trust among the customers.
  • Establish a loyalty program. Start a loyalty program to prove to customers how much they matter to your business. You can set up a points system and offer coupons or purchase cards.
  • Take customer feedback seriously. Both good and bad customer feedback is crucial. If you’re not receiving any, start asking for feedback from your customers and implement valid suggestions.
  • Create an online community. Social media is a vital aspect of modern businesses, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. So encourage your customers to follow your social media pages and create engaging content, including those that increase transparency in your business.

Returning customers are more likely to spend more into your business. So if you need some expert guidance on how to run your business better, book a one-on-one consultation with us today!

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