New Zealand, excluding Auckland, will be at Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm on Tuesday 7 September. Learn more about how to stay safe and changes to Council services here.

Welfare Assistance

The latest resurgence of Covid-19 may be challenging for many people in our community. It’s been an uncertain time and it’s OK to ask for help. 

We’ve pulled together a list of options and providers you can contact directly for support and assistance. 

For the Unite against Covid-19 factsheet on Services and Support click here.

Do you need help? Key Contacts

Do you need help?

  • Health Concerns

    If there is a health emergency call 111 immediately.

    If you can’t speak to your doctor, or you do not currently have a doctor, call Healthline for free advice and information – 0800 611 116.

    The Healthline team are specialists in assessing and advising over the phone. They can arrange to talk with you in your language. When your call is answered, say you'd like an interpreter and the language you’d like to speak in.

    Mental Health

    For mental health support free call or text 1737 at any time.

    1737 is available 24/7 with trained mental health counsellors. They can arrange to talk with you in your language.

    When your call is answered, say you'd like an interpreter and the language you’d like to speak in. Free call or text 1737.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis

    • Phone 111 and ask for Police if you or they are at immediate risk of harm

    • Or contact the Southern DHB Emergency Psychiatric Team on 0800 467 846

    If you need ongoing mental health support please contact your GP. They will be able to refer you to mental health support options such as Health Improvement Practioners and Brief Intervention Services. For further information on wellbeing support services in our community please click here.

    Wellbeing support in Central Lakes

    For information on a number of different support avenues and methods available, head to

    For further information on wellbeing support services in our community please click here.

  • We all need food and essential items such as medicine, so please don’t try to go without. There are plenty of ways to get this to you.

    • Talk to your family, whānau, friends, iwi and neighbours to see if they could deliver essential items to you.

    • Try food delivery such as supermarket home delivery, food parcels, frozen pre-prepared meals, subscription food boxes (like My Food Bag and Hello Fresh) or any other whole-food delivery service.

    • If you need support with picking up food or prescriptions then volunteer organisations such as Volunteer South and Student Volunteer Army can assist.

    There are also a broad number of local foodbanks and community food parcel providers who can help provide you with access to food and household essentials:

    Civil Defence Welfare Support

    Emergency Management Otago and QLDC are currently monitoring developments and working with all relevant local and national agencies and social service providers to ensure that assistance is available to anyone who requires it.

    If you have tried and can’t access support through any of the above options, then please contact your local Emergency Management team through the QLDC phone number 03 441 0499.

    For the Unite against Covid-19 factsheet on accessing food and essential items please click here.

  • If you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident contact: 

    You may be able to access support from the Ministry of Social Development.  Visit the Work and Income website for urgent financial support and ongoing needs. You can apply for a main benefit online and check your eligibility for food assistance. You can also use the COVID-19 financial support tool on the Unite Against COVID-19 website to see what support is available to you.

    Visit for more information.

    • Apply for Work and Income online:
    • 0800 559 009 (MSD General Line)
    • 0800 552 002 (MSD Seniors 65+)
    • 0800 88 99 00 (StudyLink Students)
    • For more information click here.

    If you are from on a temporary visa:  

    People from overseas on a temporary visa may be eligible for an Emergency benefit for temporary visa holders from Work and Income NZ. Applying for this benefit won’t affect any visa application you may have with Immigration New Zealand

    Please note that this support is expiring on Tuesday 31 August.

  • Job seekers

    If you’re looking for work or have a vacancy that needs to be filled contact Work and Income New Zealand  or call: 0800 779 009 (Job Seeker’s line)  

    You can also try the Work for Seasons website for information about seasonal job opportunities that may be available.

    Jobs during COVID
    Register and search for work across all regions in NZ

    Go with Tourism
    Assists 1:1 and with redeployment of tourism workers to opportunities across all sectors / NZ regions

    Work the seasons
    Find Seasonal work around NZ

    Employee rights

    If you’d like advice on your rights as an employee contact Employment NZ  or call: 0800 20 90 20 

    Wage subsidy register & complaints

    If you think your employer is receiving the wage subsidy and not passing it on, you should talk to your employer in the first instance. Ask your employer if they listed your name on the application, as they can apply for the subsidy for some or all of their employees.

    If you can’t find out from your employer whether you were included in their application, you can check with the Ministry for Social Development.

    If you have talked to your employer and:

    • you cannot resolve your problem or
    • you think your employer has behaved fraudulently in relation to the subsidy,

    You can make a complaint with Employment New Zealand

    Legal Advice

    The Community Law Centre offers free legal advice and information, representation and education to the people of Otago. Free legal advice clinics are held on the 1st Wednesday of each month in Queenstown and Wanaka.

    Visa Advice

    If you’re from overseas and need advice about your visa status, contact Immigration New Zealand  or call 0508 558 855 

    Citizens Advice Bureau

    The Citizens Advice Bureau aims to help people understand their rights and obligations and how to use this information. They provide a free and independent service to all.

  • If you’re from overseas, it is recommended that you contact your embassy to see what support is available. If you need help contacting your embassy, a list of these is available on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade website

  • COVID-19 information and resources, including vaccine information, is available in 39 languages on the Unite against COVID website under Translations. Sign up on the page of your preferred language to receive email updates when new information and resources are translated.  

    The Ministry for Ethnic Communities has also released some great ‘Golden Rules at Level 4’ videos on its Facebook page.

    The Queenstown Salvation Army can also offer language assistance if required:   Spanish,  Portuguese,  Afrikaans,  French,  Fijian Hindi,  Gujarati,  Hindi,  Sinhalese. 


Key Contacts

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