Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced help for small businesses and sole traders impacted by the Rena grounding.
“We’re providing support to businesses that either can’t operate or have experienced significant loss as a result of the Rena grounding and cannot pay employees,” says Ms Bennett.
“This Rena Support Subsidy will give the worst-affected businesses, which rely on the sea and coastline, a hand to keep paying their staff.”
To be eligible for the subsidy the business must operate within or near the maritime exclusion zone. They will also need to be able to show they have already used any insurance cover and are unable to relocate their operation.
“From Monday, businesses that meet these criteria and have no other way to pay their staff can apply for the six week support package” says Ms Bennett.
The $500 subsidy for full-time staff and $300 subsidy for part-time staff will be available for sole traders and small businesses (with less than 20 employees).
The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce have advised they believe there is a maximum of 120 employees affected. The fund is currently capped at $360,000 which is enough to cover 6 weeks support for those 120 employees. The size of the fund will be addressed if the scale of the disaster changes.
Economic Development Minister David Carter is encouraging businesses affected by the Rena grounding to connect with a range of services offered through the local Chamber of Commerce, including business advice, mentoring and training options.
"To immediately assist, businesses directly impacted will be able to access free mentoring through Business Mentors NZ,” says Mr Carter.
To apply for the Rena Support package, businesses should call the employer helpline on 0800 778 008.
A map showing the maritime exclusion zone can be found on Maritime New Zealand’s website: