Due to a planned system upgrade, some of our services may not work as usual tonight (Tuesday 9 March from 8.00pm -10.00pm). We apologise for any inconvenience.

COVID-19 Business Support and Advice

Contacts What's new? Business and Employee Resources

Southern Lakes Business Response Group

In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, a Southern Lakes ‘Business Response & Recovery team has been formed by Southern Lakes business agencies - QLDC Economic Development, Ignite Wanaka Chamber, Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, Destination Queenstown and Lake Wanaka Tourism.

We understand that businesses and employees within our local businesses are concerned about the future of our economy and we know it’s a difficult time for us all.  We are here to help by providing a co-ordinated local response and support network for the Southern Lakes business community following the impact of COVID-19 which has been identified as a health emergency locally, nationally and internationally.  Our role is to:

  1. Gather intel and provide consistent and accurate information via organisation’s and other channels.
  2. Ensure businesses have the resources and support they need now, when they need it and know where to go for it.
  3. Once appropriate move into a co-ordinated recovery phase to ensure businesses can return to their new normal as soon as possible.

We have created one on-line platform (a source of truth) where information can be shared and updated now and in the future.  Further information is available here.


We are here to help, if you require any further information or support please get in touch with any of the contacts below. 

Destination Queenstown
Ann Lockhart - CEO

Queenstown Chamber
Craig Douglas – Chair

Lake Wanaka Tourism
Tim Barke - Acting GM

Ignite Wanaka Chamber
Naomi Lindsay – Executive Officer

Queenstown Lakes District Council
Peter Harris - Economic Development Manager

Regional Business Partners
Tara Bruce - Business Advisor


What's new?

For the latest local business information, please click on the relevant date below. We will regularly update information here for you.

  • For Friday 19 February update on what's new, click here.


Business and Employee Resources

If you need additional support as a business or employee, please contact the resources available below. These links will be regularly updated by the relevant agency and organisation and are the source of truth for information.

Need more help? A dedicated email address to access multi-agency assistance and advice where required has been set-up, including about self-isolation from Health, Immigration and Police nhccselfisolation@health.govt.nz

Visit covid19.govt.nz for all updates.

Business Owner Support

Redeployment options / resources will be available here as they become available.

  • The ‘Go with Tourism’ online platform is now offering a range of free services including 1:1 support for both employers and employees via phone or video calls.  They also have a variety of support resources around financial assistance and help with mental health / well-being.

    Go with Tourism will also assist directly with regional redeployment options as they become available.

    This is available for both business owners and employees.

    To register for assistance go to: www.gowithtourism.co.nz

  • The Ministry of Social Development now has a dedicated advisor to assist our regions vulnerable employers by email.  For any MSD employer wage subsidy queries or redundancy support advice, please contact Tracey Harrison at Tracey.Harrison033@msd.govt.nz

  • The Queenstown and Wanaka Chambers are offering all local businesses three months free membership in order to help businesses through the impacts of COVID-19. Click links below to join- Queenstown Chamber OR Wanaka Chamber


    We all need to stay on the ball and keep building that resilience muscle as we move together through this new territory. To assist with that Queenstown Chamber of Commerce has organised a recurring Zoom video gathering "Stop and Slow Down for 20 minutes".

    Session times: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from now on.

    12-12.20pm and 7-7.20pm. More information here.

  • To access a mentor for your business, please contact Business Mentors here. If you have experience, skills and time to support a business, please also contact them by heading to business.govt.nz.

  • Resilient Organisations is a research and consulting group focused on helping organisations, industries, and economies to thrive in any environment. They are experts in risk and resilience, helping organisations prepare for and get through times of crisis and helping them make decisions in a world full of uncertainty and ambiguity.  

  • Click here for specific updates for business owners on COVID-19.

  • Click here for some advice for business resilience and re-looking at your business plan 


  • Information for Exporters can be found here, including assistance and market updates.

  • Contact them to speak with an advisor for direct support today.  Please email Tara to discuss.


    More information about RBP here.

  • The Government has put together a COVID-19 Wage Subsidy for employers in all regions.It’s to support your business if you are impacted by COVID and face making staff redundant or reducing their hours because of COVID-19. More information about the Wage Subsidy



Contact your bank, accountant or business advisor immediately if you have immediate cash flow or income concerns. The announcements by government provides support for owners and their employees and your own network will be a good first port of call to see what you can apply for.

  • Click here for updates on the Official Cash Rate 

    The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with the Reserve Bank to enable it to undertake a programme of large scale purchases of New Zealand Government bonds on the secondary market up to a value of $30 billion over the next 12 months, to reduce interest rates and inject money into the economy. Click here to see the announcement and details.

    Mortgage repayment scheme working with retail banks - The Minister, working with retail banks and treasury to provide a 6-month mortgage repayment holiday. Banks will announce in the coming days the specifics for each bank. Please do not overwhelm your bank with contact, details will be announced.

    Business financing guarantee scheme – The Minister has signed an agreement with the Reserve Bank – a $6.25B business financing guarantee scheme. Includes loans of up to $500,000 for businesses whose turnover is $150,000-$18 million per annum. The specific lending criteria will be made by banks and lower interest rates will apply.

    The Minister also urged businesses to continue to pay your bills to one another, particularly larger businesses paying smaller businesses.

  • List of latest announcements can be found here.

  • COVID-19 tax relief information can be found here and your accountant can also help you in this space.

    Business cash flow and tax measures - There are a number of business cash flow and tax measures that have been announced, including:

    • Giving Inland Revenue the discretion to remit use-of-money interest (UOMI) for customers significantly adversely affected by COVID-19.
    • Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021. More information about tax measures.
  • Contact your own lawyer or local HR professional in the first instance to find answers to your individual situation now. Alternatively, there is great information to be found below:

  • Workplace response to COVID-19 is being updated here for both employers and employees.

    Leave Payment. From 17 March 2020 the COVID-19 Leave Payment will be available to support people financially if they need to self-isolate. It will be paid to employers to pass onto their employees who need to self-isolate for 14 days, based on Ministry of Health guidelines. The payment must be passed on in full to employees. More information about the Leave Payment

    1. As a general principle employers and employees must always meet the duty of good faith. Employers must behave fairly and reasonably. This specifically requires that any termination of employment be justifiable and procedurally fair.
    2. Put simply: despite the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 virus and its drastic effect on businesses – you generally cannot circumvent a fair redundancy process.
    3. This is because the doctrine of contract frustration will apply only in very few employment situations. This will occur only where there has been some outside event not foreseen or provided for by the parties in the employment agreement that makes it impossible (or radically different) to perform the contract; and that outside event and its consequences must occur without either the fault or default of either party.
    4. Termination under a force majeure or act of god provision will still require justification under the Employment Relations Act 2000. The basic test is that employers must both justify redundancy (likely through the financial impact of COVID-19 and a downturn in work available) and give employees access to information, and an opportunity to comment on that information before a decision is made. Given the circumstances, this can be expedited but should still be carefully managed.
    5. Many individual employment agreements will not contain a force majeure provision. The wording will also vary between agreements. You may be able to reference such a provision when going through a redundancy process – however this will not provide any significant short-cuts to proposing and implementing redundancies.
  • Some of your employees may now have to break their tenancy agreements, due to being made redundant. See advice and link below to share with your employees.

    • Tenant- If you have been made redundant and cannot pay your rent, you should call your landlord immediately to discuss options.

    • Landlord - If your tenant misses a rent payment - call them to discuss options, noting this is a very stressful time for everyone. You can read more here about tenancy agreements as it’s important to understand your rights, while working together to find a solution.

  • For the most up-to-date information for travellers, visa holders (including students), cruise ships and maritime vessels. Visit here for information.

  • Leave Payment. From 17 March 2020 the COVID-19 Leave Payment will be available to support people financially if they need to self-isolate. It will be paid to employers to pass onto their employees who need to self-isolate for 14 days, based on Ministry of Health guidelines. The payment must be passed on in full to employees. More information about the Leave Payment.

    • We encourage employers who find themselves in a position where they need to make staff redundant to wrap around them with support and be mindful of the circumstances that these people will likely find themselves in due to loss of income and potentially being away from their support network. Be kind and considerate.

    • A similar message for landlords (home and commercial)– stay in touch with your tenants and understand their circumstances, support them as much as possible

    • In order to understand the medium-long term needs of the community, we will be seeking information via an online form for those finding themselves in vulnerable circumstances.

  • The government has announced additional financial support on

    1. Benefits Increase.

    2. Financial Support for Individuals.

    3. Students.

    4. Health Support.

    5. Stress Counselling & Support.

    To find out more about how Work and Income may be able to help, click here

    NZ Residents or Citizens - If you need assistance your first port of call is Work and Income (WINZ). Call 0800 778 008  - NOTE: WINZ has now closed its offices and all enquiries should be directed to the 0800 number. If you also need social assistance (food, counselling and other support), please see below advice.


Health & wellbeing


  • The local agency charged with coordinating volunteers and requests for social/welfare help is Volunteering Central.  If you want to help, whether it’s delivering food to our vulnerable, making food etc, give them a shout.  Also if you need help, contact them with what you need. Note this is for social support not business support. Click here for contacts.



    • If you need temporary accommodation for self-isolation you can register by calling 0508 754 163. A staff member will then contact you to assess your needs and work with you to find suitable temporary self-isolation accommodation.

    • Temporary accommodation is not income or asset tested. There will be a cost for temporary accommodation. If you’re a New Zealand citizen or resident on a low income or benefit, you can contact Work and Income to see if you’re eligible for support. workandincome.govt.nz. International visitors are also eligible for this support.

    • Do I need to self-isolate in the same location? Yes– that’s the point of the lock down, unless you are travelling with your family group to another self-isolated location. However, walks, biking etc alone (or with your family group) are allowed but please remain two meters apart from anyone you see. List of local hotels for self-isolation can be found here

    • People not self-isolating?  Commercial Accommodation and Activity providers’ advice on tourists and self-isolation - what to do. See advice from TIA here. It’s up to all of us to do our bit to keep our communities safe.

  • Guidelines for local accommodation providers - read more here.

  • Planning a trip overseas or have employees overseas? Up to date advice on travel restrictions can be found here at SafeTravel including border controls here and overseas.

  • Advice From the MoH which answers a lot of questions you might have regarding what self-isolation means. Click to watch video.

  • TIA is the voice of the tourism industry and specific tourism updates can be found here.

  • Queenstown Airport - Updates on border controls and flights can be found here.

    • As per above, visitors to New Zealand are advised to start organising their trip home as soon possible. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has advice for travellers.

    • Air New Zealand is adding more domestic capacity following the Prime Minister’s announcement. This will allow New Zealanders seeking to return home to do so prior to the country moving to Alert Level Four. The airline will endeavor to operate its current schedule as planned until at least the end of the week. More details on the additional capacity to follow.

    • We are all required to isolate at Alert Level 4 in one-place so unnecessary travel will not be allowed. QLDC announced yesterday measures for those currently travelling in campervans who are unable to return home.

  • From 11.59pm Weds 25 March all workplaces must implement alternative ways of working, people must work from home so that interactions with others are limited. Some suggestions and tools to help:

    • Contact a local IT provider to see if they can help you get set-up if you’re not already, being mindful they will be under a lot of pressure.

    • Some advice on working from home IT wise can be found here

    • A legal agreement for working from home for your employees can be found here.


    Keeping safe working online at home – Please see below links from CERT NZ


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