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Robertson unveils more support for Covid-19 affected firms

25 Mar 2020  By Chris Hutching | |

Finance minister Grant Robertson has announced further business support of $6.25bn, $330m to keep air cargo going, and mortgage support for homeowners and small businesses.

The $6.25bn financing scheme involves the Government underwriting 80% of loans, which are targeted at small to medium-sized businesses.

Grant Robertson

The loans from the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme would be up to $500,000 each for firms with annual turnover between $250,000 to $80m for three years at “bank competitive rates”.

The loans to solvent businesses would be administered by the banks because they were closest to clients, Robertson said.

“We’re not promising to save every job and every business,” Robertson said.

But the loans would assist in keeping many afloat.

Businesses would have to sign a declaration saying they were employing people.

The wage subsidy support package, estimated to cost $9.3bn, had received more than 117,000 applications worth $687m and the figure was rising constantly, he said.

The Government also announced a plan for a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and small to medium enterprise customers whose incomes had been affected by the economic disruption from Covid-19.

“A six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by Covid-19 will mean people won’t lose their homes as a result of the economic disruption caused by this virus,” Robertson said.

The specific details were still being worked out.

Transport minister Phil Twyford also announced today $330m of aviation support allocated to ensuring air freight capacity is available on key routes for at least the next six months, and dealing with immediate risks and opportunities as they arise in the aviation sector.

The funding comes from the Government’s $600m aviation sector relief package announced last week.

Under the air freight capacity support package, airlines and other air freight businesses would be invited to submit proposals for the Government to provide financial support for them to deliver freight capacity on key routes.

Proposals would need to cover how critical imports of medicines, medical supplies and high-value exports will be prioritised, and the prices to be charged.

There was also flexible funding available to respond to immediate risks and opportunities as they arise to retain capability and capacity in the aviation system.


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