It can be confusing trying to find the right information. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you fnd answers …
(See COVID-19.govt.nz for a more extensive list of questions).
Q. Can I leave my house?
A. You should stay at home as much as possible, except for going for a walk or picking up essentials. You should not enter other people’s houses or arrange meetings in public places.
If you leave your home, keep a 2-metre distance from other people at all times. When you return home from being in public, thoroughly wash your hands. Stopping physical contact with people outside your household is the single most important thing we can do right now to stop further community transmission.
Be kind. People may want to act as enforcers of others, but report any concerns to the correct authorities through .
Q. Can I use my car?
A. Using private vehicles for transport is allowed. However, you can only travel if you’re accessing essential services or if you’re an essential worker travelling to, from, or as part of your essential work. You should only travel in your car with people from your household.
Q. Can I ride my bike?
A. Yes - as long as you keep a 2 metre distance from anybody outside of your household.
Stay close to home - stay within your neighbourhood.
Q. Can I get a tradesperson to do essential maintenance on my house?
A. You can have a tradesperson come to your house to do urgent maintenance.
The work must be essential to maintaining the necessities of life, or critical to safety. This includes electricians, plumbers and builders.
Q. What if I’m a non-health related essential worker in close contact with others?
A. Workers and workplaces where physical distancing is not possible – or where people may be more likely to come into contact with infected material – can take additional steps to help protect against the potential spread of COVID-19.
Find out more from the COVID-19 website.
Q. I am a self-employed contractor and have been told I need to self-isolate and working from home is not an option for me. Is there any financial support available for me?
A. From 17 March 2020, the COVID-19 Leave Payment will be available to support people financially if they need to self-isolate, cannot work because they are sick with COVID-19 or cannot work because they are caring for dependents who are required to self-isolate or who are sick with COVID-19.
Find out more from the COVID-19 website.
Q. I’ve got a mortgage - what help can I get?
A. Mortgage repayment holiday scheme
New Zealand’s retail banks are offering to defer repayments for all residential mortgages for up to 6 months for customers financially affected by COVID-19.
Mortgage repayment deferrals mean that affected customers who apply to their bank will not make principal and interest payments on their loans for up to 6 months. This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to provide assistance to affected customers.
Key details of this scheme:
- It’s important to know that interest on these loans will still accrue, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan.
- Banks will assess the suitability for each customer who is asking for a deferral.
- Banks will have different approaches to how they manage the process for customers to opt into a mortgage deferral. Those details, including eligibility criteria, will be available on bank websites.
- Customers should contact their bank for further details or queries about the scheme.
Q. Can my landlord increase my rent while I’m self-isolating?
A. Support is available to ensure renters stay in their rental properties with a six-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from tenancies being terminated.
See the COVID-19 website for more information.
Q. I’ve lost my job - what help can I get to cover costs?
A. If you’ve lost your job, can’t work at the moment or your income has been reduced, you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.
If you’re struggling to meet your living costs or had an unexpected bill - Work and Income might be able to help you, even if you’re working.
Even if you don’t think you qualify, contact Work and Income to talk about your situation.
They may be able to help with urgent costs like:
- accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board)
- power, gas and water bills or heating
- medical and dental costs