Support is available for individuals, families, employers, and self-employed people affected by COVID-19.
At Alert Level 4, Work and Income service centres are closed to the public. If you have an appointment, staff be in touch. Regular payments will continue, and staff will help you over the phone and through MyMSD where they can.
2 September 2021
If whānau need food urgently (in the next 24-48 hours) you can connect with your local foodbank.
See our webpage Foodbanks - locations and contacts for the location and contact details of known Foodbanks operating in the Southern region.
A list of food banks and other food assistance services across NZ can be found on:
28 August 2021
Rent arrears assistance - Work and Income
If you have overdue rent and you’re worried you will lose your housing, you can talk to Work and Income for support.
If money is tight and you’re worried you’ll lose your housing because you owe rent, you may be able to get Rent Arrears Assistance.
- You don’t need to be on a benefit to qualify for this help.
- It’s a one-off payment.
- You’ll need to pay the money back. We’ll put a repayment plan in place to suit your financial circumstances.
Who can get it?
You may be able to get Rent Arrears Assistance if you:
- are 16 or older
- have signed the tenancy agreement (or you’re a tenant by way of a Family Violence Act order)
- have overdue rent you need to pay
- may be evicted because you haven’t paid your rent
- are able to stay there if you pay the rent you owe, eg:
- your tenancy isn’t about to expire
- you can afford to keep paying the rent.
What you can get
How much you get depends on the amount of rent you owe. The most you can get is $2,000 and you’ll need to pay it back.
You can only get this payment once in 12 months, unless there are exceptional situations, eg:
- sickness or injury, or
- you’re in a family violence situation, or
- a victim of violent crime.
How to apply - call us
- getting NZ Super or Veteran’s Pension, call Senior Services on 0800 552 002
- a student, call StudyLink on 0800 88 99 00
- getting another payment from us, call us on 0800 559 009
- not getting any payments from us, call us on 0800 559 009.
We’ll book you an appointment to discuss your application.
MSD - changes during COVID-19 lockdown
MSD are making changes to make things as seamless as possible for people needing assistance and support. For example:
- deferring reviews of clients’ circumstances
- streamlining application and verification processes
- removing the need for existing clients to provide medical certificates to continue their eligibility for a main benefit.
Operating hours for the general enquiries phone line has also been extended this weekend.
While MSD’s service centres are closed at Alert Level 4, people can continue to get in touch through MyMSD or by phoning 0800 559 009. Clients have been emailed to reassure them regular payments will continue.
Whānau Ora contacts
- Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (North Island): Phone: 0800 929 282
- Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu (South Island): Phone: 0800 187 689
- Pasifika Futures: Phone: 0800 890 110
- MSD: 0800 559 009
- Community services directory
- Youthline: 0800 376 633
- Healthline: 0800 611 116
If you are experiencing Family Violence please call Police on 111 if you are in danger, or call:
- Women’s Refuge crisis: 0800 733 843 — 24 hours
- Family violence information line: 0800 456 450
- Shine National Helpline: 0508 744 633 — 9am to 11pm
- Shakti — for migrant and refugee women: 0800 742 584 — 24 hours
- Elder Abuse Helpline: 0800 32 668 65 — 24 hours
Emergency food requests
MSD can assist people who need food urgently.
If support for food through Work and Income is not suitable as a first option, people can search the Family Services Directory for a local foodbank:
The Ministry of Social Development also supports foodbanks and community food providers who are distributing food in the community.
Work and Income may be able to help
If any whānau need financial help to buy food or pay other essential costs, they may be able to get help through Work and Income. They do not need to be on a benefit to get help. Work and Income can help with paying for food, accommodation costs, power and gas bills, heating and medical or dental costs. To access this support whânau can:
- Call 0800 559 009
- Use the online calculator to check what they might get.
- Work and Income may be able to help if you can’t work from home, if you’re working fewer hours, or if you’ve lost your job.
- Work and Income can help with essential costs like food, your rent or mortgage, and other urgent bills.
- Talk to Work and Income to see how they can help.
- Check out the ‘COVID-19 Support’ page on the Work and Income website, workandincome.govt.nz
Work and Income website
Link to General Work and Income Support: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/index.html
Link to COVID Information: COVID-19 - Work and Income
Link to Check What You Can Get: https://check.msd.govt.nz/
Contact Work and Income by phone:
Call our general enquiries team anytime between:
Monday to Friday - 7am and 6pm
Saturday - 8am and 1pm
Phone: 0800 559 009
To speak to us in another language, you can ask for an interpreter when you call.
Emergency benefit for temporary visa holders
If you’ve got a temporary visa and are in financial hardship, we may be able to help you with an Emergency Benefit.
Applying for this benefit won’t affect any visa application you may have with Immigration New Zealand.
This support is ending on 31 August 2021.
Paying clients stranded overseas
MSD is working hard to make sure clients who are out of the country and are unable to return because of the COVID-19 pandemic are financially supported.
When you leave New Zealand temporarily some payments stop straight away, some are paid for up to 28 days, and New Zealand Super and Veteran’s Pension is paid for up to 26 weeks.
If a person left New Zealand before 26 March 2020
Under a COVID-19 Special Assistance Programme we’re able to pay you while you’re stranded overseas.
This programme will end on 31 August 2021. If you’re not back in New Zealand before this date your payments will stop.
Youth service support
Youth Service providers are available by phone only during Alert Level 4. Contact details for youth providers can be found on the Youth Service website.
During this Alert Level 4 period, regular payments will continue, and Youth Coach will continue to provide support.
To check your payments or tell us about your changes, visit MyMSD.
You can get more help and information from:
- your Youth Coach
- your GP or local community health centre
- Youthline - 0800 376 633 or www.youthline.co.nz
- Need To Talk by calling or texting 1737
- in an emergency always call 111
Pasefika Proud - family violence prevention
Pasefika Proud is a social change movement – ‘by Pacific for Pacific’ – to boost wellbeing for Pacific families and transform attitudes, behaviours and norms that enable violence.
Pasfika Proud has a list of providers, community groups and supports to help people impacted by COVID-19: