Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story

Two statements from the Beehive yesterday were enlightening for taxpayers trying to keep tabs on the burgeoning billions being spent on facilitating the economic recovery.

One statement told us how much is being handed out to small businesses.

Correction.  One statement told us how much is being loaned to small businesses:  it’s almost $1 billion in interest-free loans.  “Around” $960 million to be a bit more precise.

The other advised us of progress on the investment in two new Cook Strait ferries.

The relevant figures in the press statement tell us:

The $400 million towards the ferries and KiwiRail’s land-side infrastructure builds on a $35 million investment in last year’s Budget for ferry design and procurement work. It is part of the Government’s overall $4.6 billion-dollar investment in rail.

 The only other announcements from the Beehive Ballyhoo Brigade yesterday advised us that:

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership “with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting” (a phone call with pictures, we suppose).  They agreed to continue implementation of the Enhanced Partnership, with a focus on priority initiatives that are meaningful and valued by both countries in the context of COVID-19.
  • The implementation of a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures will better protect seabirds.

Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash was obviously keen to rebuff claims he isn’t doing enough for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).  He said they  “have reacted enthusiastically to the Small Business Cash flow Loan Scheme” in its first fortnight of operation.

And so …

A billion dollar milestone is about to be passed as government cash flow support rolls out to small businesses through interest-free loans.

His data show:

  • Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses
  • More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved
  • Average loan approx. $17,300
  • 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff
  • A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and retail
  • 88% of those seeking loans also got support from the Wage Subsidy

Loans are interest-free if repaid within a year. After that the interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of five years. Repayments are not required for the first two years.

SMEs employing 50 or fewer staff are eligible to apply.

The government is also boosting cash flow in other ways to help with fixed costs for SMEs. This includes tax refunds, the wage subsidy, commercial property reform and consultancy support.

Outside the $4 billion business support package in Budget 20, previously announced support for small businesses includes:

  • Wage subsidies for more than 390,000 businesses to pay 1.6 million staff. More than 210,000 businesses who received direct support were the self-employed, and a further 170,000 businesses employ up to 19 staff;
  • Income relief payments for those who have lost their business or job, up to $490 per week for 12 weeks, tax-free;
  • Tax refunds of up to $3.1 billion through the loss carry-back scheme
  • Tax breaks worth $2 billion for commercial landlords through changes to depreciation arrangements;
  • $25 million for professional consultancy services through Regional Business Partners;
  • Government departments are taking the lead on prompt payments to SMEs, with a target of 95% of invoices paid in 10 working days. Ministers have now asked top-50 listed companies on the NZX to consider doing the same;
  • Other tax measures allow businesses to get tax write-offs for low-value assets like laptops and phones; remove 95,000 taxpayers from the provisional tax regime; and allow interest to be waived on late payments

More information is available here: www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/small-business-cash-flow-loan

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters delighted in welcoming KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing.

Only one of the current ships, the Aratere, is rail-enabled.

Interislander ferries carry 800,000 passengers and up to $14 billion of road and rail freight each year.

The two new ferries will be able to carry twice as many passengers as the current three ship fleet, as well as three times more rail wagons and almost double the number of trucks and other vehicles.

“This will be a huge boost to New Zealand’s civil engineering and construction sector, with hundreds of contractors, and their material suppliers needed nationwide for track renewal, and mechanical facility upgrades,” says Mr Peters.

“The funding for the land-side new terminal infrastructure, including rail and vehicle marshaling yards, will create hundreds of local construction jobs in Picton and Wellington, along with hundreds of service supply jobs right across New Zealand, with work expected to begin next year.”

Latest from the Beehive

Release

27 MAY 2020

New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Release

27 MAY 2020

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTERS OF NEW ZEALAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SINGAPORE-NEW ZEALAND ENHANCED PARTNERSHIP

On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Release

27 MAY 2020

Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing.

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister

State Owned Enterprises

Release

27 MAY 2020

Better protection for seabirds

Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

Hon Stuart Nash Hon Eugenie Sage

Conservation

Fisheries

Release

27 MAY 2020

Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs

A billion dollar milestone is about to be passed as government cash flow support rolls out to small businesses through interest-free loans.

Hon Stuart Nash

Revenue

Small Business

 

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