Another round of wage subsidy will be available for applications on Friday 1 October, and another round of COVID resurgence support is on the cards, said Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Robertson also indicated there was a chance the hospitality sector could receive more support.
Accommodation businesses and restaurants have lost about three-quarters of their revenue overall at level 3 and remained approximately 30 percent down at level 2, he said.
Robertson and other ministers were discussing with hospitality bodies what options might be available in future.
The decision to offer businesses more wage subsidies did not appear to imply anything about the government's decision on alert levels next week, as they would be triggered by Auckland remaining at level 3 for seven days until midnight on Monday.
The subsidies will be available for businesses across the country that have experienced or expect a 40 percent decrease in revenue during the fortnight to 11 October as a result of Auckland being at level 3.
Another round of separate resurgence support payments would be a result of a region remaining at level 2 beyond midnight on Tuesday, which would be pretty likely. Those payments are designed to help small firms meet their fixed costs.
Robertson defended the support the government was providing businesses.
He responded to National Party shadow treasurer Andrew Bayly's concerns that businesses impacted by COVID were running out of money, saying the government had to strike a balance.
He said the government had supported businesses from day one, but no government could ever cover the full costs of every business. The best outcome would be to stamp out the Delta outbreak and for the country to its pre-lockdown state, Robertson said.
Predictions about how well the economy will bounce back after restrictions end were hard to make and would be affected by the global economy, he added.
Robertson suggested the government might only be able to gradually reduce its debt level after an expected peak in 2023.