Weekly Digest – 4 August 2021

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

Medsafe Gives Provisional Approval to AstraZeneca Vaccine

NZ’s health regulator Medsafe has granted provisional approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine for those 18 years old and above. The government has secured 7.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through an advance purchase agreement last year. So far, NZ has only been using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Two Million Doses Administered in NZ

The COVID-19 vaccination roll-out which officially began on 20 February has reached another milestone. As of 4 August, more than 2 million doses have been administered, and 770,000 people are fully vaccinated.

Those aged 55+ who haven’t already been vaccinated can expect to get invitations from this Friday.

ANZ Survey: Business Confidence Eases in July

An ANZ survey showed that New Zealand business sentiment eased in July, but remained at robust levels, while inflation pressures continued to increase.

A net 3.8% of respondents expected the economy to deteriorate over the year ahead, compared to a 0.6% pessimism level in June. Meanwhile, 26.3% of respondents expected their own business to grow in the next 12 months, down from 31.6% in June.

Inflation expectations at 2.70% are the highest since early 2012, according to ANZ.

Mortgage Lending to Be Tightened as Housing Crisis Worsens

New Zealand’s Central Bank is planning to tighten mortgage lending further by lowering high loan-to-value ratio (LVR) lending and implementing debt-to-income (DTI) restrictions or interest rate floors. This is after measures to control an inflated housing market and limit risky borrowing have had marginal impact. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand aims to introduce these measures in October.

New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission has also launched an enquiry into the housing crisis as well.

New Zealand Opens Travel Bubble with Other Pacific Nations

Seasonal workers from selected Pacific countries will be allowed into New Zealand without undergoing two weeks in quarantine. The expansion of the travel bubble will be restricted to horticulture and viticulture workers from Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu.

COVID-19 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.

COVID-19 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.

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.

How Small Brands Can Compete with Major E-Commerce Companies

With advanced supply chain and shipping logistics capabilities, diverse offerings, and retail dominance, it can be overwhelming for small businesses to compete with major e-commerce companies.

However, instead of focusing on beating shipping speed, price points, or product offerings, small- and medium-sized e-commerce players can differentiate themselves by doing what the huge brands can’t. This Forbes article shares some ways smaller brands can compete with the big names.

  • Find your niche. Determine what your business excels at, and focus on that.
  • Make customer service king. Short wait times and knowledgeable people ready to help every time customers call elevate the customer experience.
  • Run lean operations. Ensure your operations run efficiently by establishing strong inventory management, demand forecasting, and enterprise resource planning and e-commerce platforms.

Want some expert advice on how to grow a profitable e-commerce business? Book a one-on-one consultation with us so we can discuss your specific situation.

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