One press statement from the Beehive yesterday sounded more like advertising – or a barker’s pitch – than a Government announcement. Another advised of two diplomatic appointment, one of them – has the woman who landed the post done something wrong? – to protest-troubled and politically volatile Hong Kong.
And yes, as happens almost daily, there was news about the spending of big bucks. Defence Minister Ron Mark announced the Coalition Government’s confirmation of the purchase of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft to replace the existing fleet.
This is part of a $1.521 billion project that also will deliver a full mission flight simulator and other supporting infrastructure.
But bigger bucks are involved in the major announcement of the day. The Government has lowered the required revenue drop threshold for its wage subsidy scheme from 50% to 40%. This will allow 40,000 more businesses to become eligible for the new eight-week scheme from 10 June, covering up to 910,000 workers.
Up to 230,000 businesses are forecast to become eligible.
Small businesses are also being given more time to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, with the application date being extended from 12 June to 24 July.
In terms of cost, the wage subsidy scheme has paid out $10.997 billion so far, covering 1.66 million jobs.
Under the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme more than $1.18 billion has been disbursed to more than 70,000 small businesses. The loans are interest-free if repaid within a year. Businesses have five years to pay the loans off, with no repayments required during the first two years.
The changes to the extended wage subsidy scheme are forecast to provide between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion of support to businesses to help them with their wage bills, up from a top estimate of $3.2 billion under the old threshold. This will be funded through the COVID Response and Recovery Fund.
The wage subsidy and small business cashflow scheme are part of the extensive support the Government has made available for businesses, which includes:
- The $11 billion wage subsidy and $3.9 billion extended wage subsidy
- The $5.2 billion Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
- $3.1 billion for business tax refunds through the loss carry-back scheme
- $2.8 billion for building depreciation tax deductions and other tax measures
- The $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee
- Commercial rent support, including $40 million to cover arbitration costs
- The $400 million initial support for the Tourism sector
- A $600 million aviation support package
- Funding for business advice through the Regional Business Partner Network
- A $400 million package to encourage R&D
But what about the advertising we mentioned earlier in this post?
Or a sideshow barker, perhaps. Hurry, hurry, hurry …
Great Walks bookings open next week.
This was the work of Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, who (as the heading on her press statement implied) is encouraging us to go walking.
This summer presents a great opportunity for New Zealanders to get out into nature with bookings on Great Walks for 2020/21 set to open next week, says Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.
Bookings for the Great Walks will open between 9 and 11 June, excluding Milford and Routeburn tracks which are still undergoing storm repairs. Bookings for these tracks are projected to open in July/August 2020.
“For people who haven’t done a Great Walk previously, the 2020/21 season presents a fantastic opportunity to get out and experience nature in some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes with iconic wildlife and rich history,” says Eugenie Sage.
“With a high standard of tracks and facilities, they are accessible options for people wishing to connect with Aotearoa’s heritage and experience some of the best multi-day walks in the world.”
“New Zealand is highly regarded as a walking destination. As the Great Walks gain global recognition, it has become harder to secure a booking on to the most popular tracks at peak times.”
And so on.
Sage – in another statement – enthused that she was celebrating World Environment Day with an announcement of a major step towards Wairarapa Moana being recognised as an internationally significant wetland.
Wairarapa Moana is an ecosystem of 10,000 hectares of wetland and open water that provides a home for indigenous fish, birds and unique native plants.
The Government has agreed to nominate it for recognition as a Wetland of International Importance through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources, aiming to help protect these valuable ecosystems.
We now await the statement in which she responds to National’s Jacqui Dean, who has accused the Department of Conservation of lacking in the kindness which the PM wants spread around the land.
When the border shut, a big chunk of concession holders’ dried up overnight, says Dean.
Despite having no income from international visitors, they are still having to pay full concession fees to DOC.
Those affected are often small businesses like cafes and tourism operators.
Two diplomatic appointments were announced by Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
- David Pine as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India; and
- Stephanie Lee as our Consul-General in Hong Kong.
The only other statement came from Housing Minister Megan Woods, who opened a new Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities complex in Richmond, Christchurch.
She used the occasion to bray about new public housing saving tenants money in energy bills and providing warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes.
“This project is a clear demonstration of this Government’s commitment to providing high-quality public housing that is good for people,” Megan Woods said.
Latest from the Beehive
6 JUNE 2020
This summer presents a great opportunity for New Zealanders to get out into nature with bookings on Great Walks for
5 JUNE 2020
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced two diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India and Consul-General to Hong Kong.
5 JUNE 2020
The Government is today announcing further support for businesses that continue to be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, as the broader economy becomes one of the most open in the world following the success of New Zealand’s public health efforts.
5 JUNE 2020
The Coalition Government has confirmed five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the existing fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today.
5 JUNE 2020
New public housing that will save tenants money in energy bills, and provide warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes, is setting the standard for the Government’s future public housing programme
5 JUNE 2020
The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage is celebrating World Environment Day with an announcement of a major step towards Wairarapa Moana being recognised as an internationally significant wetland.