Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.
NZ Resumes Perth Travel Bubble After COVID-19 Scare
NZ agreed to reopen its travel bubble with Western Australia on 2 May, 24 hours after grounding flights when three people in Perth tested positive for the coronavirus.
After it was determined that the risk to the country was not significant, it was decided that flights could resume on Monday. However, those who have been at “locations of interest” cannot travel to New Zealand within 14 days of exposure.
This was the second disruption to the travel bubble between NZ and AU in the two weeks since it opened. Flights between the two countries were briefly suspended when the Perth and Peel regions went into a three-day lockdown due to a case of community transmission on 23 April.
NZ to Open Travel Bubble with Cook Islands
New Zealand will open up a travel bubble with the Cook Islands starting 17 May.
Starting this month, New Zealand will fund and support the vaccine rollout to roughly 15,000 adults in Cook Islands. The Cook Islands is highly dependent on tourism and Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged it has been eager to reopen to New Zealand for some time.
Budget 2021 to Focus on Economic Recovery, Housing Affordability, Climate Change, and Child Wellbeing
Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced in his first major pre-budget speech that aside from keeping Kiwis safe from COVID-19, Budget 2021 will be focused on accelerating economic recovery and addressing the three biggest foundational challenges: housing affordability, climate change, and child wellbeing.
As the government had already spent $926 million less on pandemic relief and response, Robertson said these savings could now be funnelled into the country’s pandemic recovery efforts.
The actual budget will be announced on 20 May.
Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Fell in Q1
The country’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in the first quarter of 2021, as the economic recovery was supported by business confidence and hiring.
Jobless rate dropped to 4.7% from 4.9% in the fourth quarter– better than economists’ forecast of 4.9%. Employment also climbed 0.6% from the previous quarter, twice the 0.3% median forecast.
This improvement in the labour market is due to renewed business confidence amid the reopening of borders and rollout of the vaccination programme.
Xero Launches Small Business Economic Index
Xero launched its new monthly index that reflects small business economic health based on sales, jobs, time to be paid and wages. The Small Business Economic Index is based on aggregated and anonymised transactions from over 300,000 small businesses. A reading of above 100 means the small business sector is performing better than average (average calculated from January 2017 to December 2019).
Based on the first results from the index, New Zealand small businesses are showing signs of recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021 the index rose by 17 points to 122 points, up 16.0% compared to February 2021.
This marks the second month that the index has been above the 100-level, indicating that positive overall performance of the sector and a solid start to 2021.
Swedish Buy-now-pay-later Company Klarna Launches in NZ
Swedish buy-now-pay-later company Klarna has joined the wide array of part-payment providers in New Zealand. The app will allow users to shop at various stores, including those that had not signed up with Klarna, create wishlists, keep track of spending, and even calculate their carbon emissions.
According to the 2021 Global Payments Report, 10% of online purchases in the country last year were made with a buy-now-pay-later app.
Get in touch with us if you need help with budgeting.
Non-Bank Lenders Join 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.
If you borrow from a bank, it will determine the amount you can borrow and the length of the term up to a maximum of $5 million payable in five years. Meanwhile, if you borrow from a non-bank, the maximum amount is $3 million payable in five years. More information on eligibility criteria and how it works can be found here.
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
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise, in partnership with The Mind Lab and Indigo, has launched a free training and support services to help businesses develop their digital capabilities.
More than 9100 small businesses are already taking advantage of these solutions through DigitalBoost.co.nz. This includes providing support on cybersecurity and fraud prevention.
Meanwhile, if you want more focused software integration advice, you may also get in touch with us so we can assist you in getting the right tech in place.
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.
Tasks Business Owners Should Be Delegating
It doesn’t matter what your big plans are or how well-designed your road map for growth is– the future success of your business will be limited if you don’t work on the right things. This Forbes article discusses the tasks that business owners should delegate to accelerate their business’ growth.
- Low-value admin tasks– Your time is of high value and it’s finite. So instead of spending your time on tasks that anyone with the right tools can do with little instruction, it’s best to focus on the core activities that drive business growth.
- High-value tasks you’re NOT an expert in– If you haven’t been working in accounting, marketing, or any other area of specialisation for the past 10 years, find a professional who has. While you can teach yourself how to do all these, your performance won’t likely match the skill of an expert with years of experience, not to mention that you’ll be slower in completing the task.
- High-value tasks you ARE an expert in– While this may come at a later stage in your business journey, it’s important to train people to perform in the same areas you’re an expert in. This will make your business more resilient to challenges, changes, or unexpected circumstances that will inevitably come.
Need help with the finance-side of your business? Get in touch with us today and ease your burden by delegating your accounting with us.
Get in touch
Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.