Weekly Digest – 2 December 2021

Children 5 to 11 Years Old May Get Vaccinated From January

Children aged 5 to 11 may get vaccinated from the end of January 2022, pending MedSafe approval.  The government has already secured enough Pfizer vaccine doses to start vaccinating children from early next year.

Currently, around 93% of eligible New Zealanders have had at least a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Auckland Recovery Fund

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has unveiled a $37.5 million recovery fund for Auckland.

The fund is intended to revive economic, social and cultural activities across the city over summer.  The first initiative, called “Explore Tāmaki Makaurau this summer”, will provide 100,000 vouchers to attractions and discounts to council facilities to encourage whānau to visit Auckland attractions.

The package included a $10 million contestable fund for free summer events.

Business Confidence Eases in November

Business sentiment fell in November due to high cost and inflation pressures, according to the latest ANZ Bank survey.

The survey’s headline measure showed a net 16.4% of respondents expected the economy to deteriorate over the year ahead, up from 13.4% pessimism level in October.  Also, a net 15% of respondents expected their business to grow in the next 12 months– an improvement from 21.7% last month.

Government to Ease COVID Measures Despite Omicron Threat

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country will move into a system of living with COVID-19 later this week despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

New Zealand will continue to keep borders closed to most international travelers for a further five months.  New border measures for travelers from nine southern African nations have also been put in place, announcing that only citizens from these countries can enter New Zealand and will have to stay in state quarantine for 14 days.

Events Transition Support Scheme Launched

The Events Transition Support Scheme has been opened from this week which will cover 90% of unrecoverable costs for major events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic.  It will apply to live, in-person paid events with over 5,000 attendees from 17 December until 3 April 2022.

Wage Subsidy August 2021 #8

Applications for Wage Subsidy August 2021 #8 are open until 9 December 2021. The Wage Subsidy payments support employers to continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by a change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Support for Businesses to Transition to Traffic Light System

A payment of up to $24,000 would be available to businesses as they moved into the new traffic light system for managing the pandemic.  This one-off transition payment would be activated through the Resurgence Support Payment system and would be available on 10 December.

The payment is at a higher base rate than the current RSP and will be $4,000 per business, plus $400 per full-time employee up to a cap of 50 FTEs.  The estimated total cost of the payment is between $350 million and $490 million.

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