Jobs creation tops agenda for New Zealand government

More support will be provided to SMEs in the country to cover operational costs and increase hiring.
By: | November 5, 2020

As New Zealand continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is making it a priority to create new jobs by supporting SMEs and kickstarting major infrastructure projects.

Measures to be introduced include the increase in funding for the flexi-wage programme by NZ$311 million (USD$208 million) to help employers take on an additional 40,000 workers.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, said, “While the scheme will take some time to fully get up and running, we want to be in a position to assist business to take on workers over the Christmas/New Year period if they can, rather than waiting until after the holiday period.”

Her government will also extend a small business loan scheme out to three years, with the interest-free period raised to two years. While set up as a “stop gap” to allow companies to cover costs, the scheme will also be broadened to allow firms to borrow in order to invest in new equipment and digital infrastructure.

READ: New Zealand enters into recession for the first time in a decade

Other proposals to support small businesses with finance are being accessed, including a Small Business Growth Fund, re-purposing the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, establishing a micro-finance company for small businesses, or expanding the mandate of the Venture Investment Fund, Arden revealed.

For workers, a draft legislation is being considered, which, if passed, will see sick pay increased to 10 days a year before this Christmas.