Even though we are we’ve lived with COVID for a few months now, many of us may still be struggling to get the essential goods and financial help we need. Check out our information below.
Getting help to access essential goods and financial help
Some of us may be struggling to get the food and medicines we need.
See the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) website for the latest information and guidance for all social services.
Salvation Army - food parcels
Salvation Army in partnership with Countdown are providing food parcels in some areas.
Phone 0800 530 000 to find out what’s available in your area.
The following has been taken from the Covid-19 Government website.
Help with money
If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.
Work and Income can help with urgent costs like:
- accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board, emergency housing)
- repairs or replacing appliances
- emergency dental treatment
- emergency medical treatment
- water tank refill.
Work and Income call centres are experiencing very high demand at the moment, so we recommend you check their website first.
Call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.
Contact your bank
If you are worried about your ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 you should contact your bank or finance company as soon as you can.
Banks and other lenders will work with customers who are struggling financially. Borrowers have a legal right to ask for changes to their repayments. A range of options are available to help. See the list of banks below with specific webpages about COVID-19:
Sorted and MoneyTalks
The government-funded services Sorted and MoneyTalks can help with budgeting or other financial guidance.
If you’ve lost your job or you run a business and are faced with laying off your employees, there may be support options available to you. Work and Income offer a range of information and support to employees who are made redundant.
Work and Income has also information for employers who are considering redundancies.
Protection for renters and tenants
If you are renting and are struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible for support to help you stay in your rental property. Help could include a 6-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having your tenancy ended.
It is important tenants do not face the prospect of homelessness during this challenging time. This will also enable families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, and support everyone’s public health.
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.
If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you will not need to make principal and interest payments on your loan for up to 6 months. This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.
Key details of this scheme:
It is important to know that interest on these loans will still increase, 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.
Support for Māori communities and businesses
Māori communities and businesses can access help tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori in the face of COVID-19. These include:
- a Whānau Māori Community and Mārae package reprioritising $10 million from the Māori Development vote to support community outreach
- A Māori Health and Whānau Ora response with $30 million targeted directly to Māori Health services and an extra $15 million to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies
- supporting Māori Businesses and engaging with Māori with $1 million of funding to enable a needs assessment for Māori businesses, and $470,000 to Te Arawhiti to engage and work with iwi on their COVID-19 pandemic response plans.