Do You Need Help?

This situation will be very challenging for many people in our community who are being let go from their jobs and face financial uncertainty. 

Do you need help? Welfare registration form Emergency accommodation and electricity Suspected Welfare Fraud Employment opportunities

Where to get support

COVID-19 has changed how many of us live and work in Otago. It’s been an uncertain time and it’s OK to ask for help. 

There are people and agencies able to support you. Whether its help paying for the essentials or just someone to talk things over with, a range of advice, help, or support is available. 

  • Health concerns

    If you can’t speak to your own doctor, call the Healthline for free advice and information.  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. Call: 0800 611 116 

    Mental Health

    For mental health advice call or text 1737 at any time.   All services are available 24/7, with interpreter services available in over 40 languages. Call or text: 1737   or visit 

  • Help with food and household essentials

    If you have no support and are unable to get food and other essentials like winter clothing, firewood, pet food accessing medicines, Otago Civil Defence can assist. 

    Welfare registration form:

    Or call 0800 322 4000, 9am to 5pm daily.

    Help with accommodation

    If you need help meeting your accommodation costs (e.g. rent, power or gas) help is available. How you access this depends on where you are from. 

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

    Work and Income New Zealand  call: 0800 559 009

    If you are from overseas:  

    You can apply for assistance through Otago Civil Defence  

    Visa advice

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

    Tenancy Advice

    If you need advice on your rights as a tenant contract Tenancy Services or call 0800 836 262

    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.

  • 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.

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

    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

    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.

    Income support

    If you’re a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and lose your job (including self-employment) from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment. Visit

    For other information about what financial support is available contact Work and Income New Zealand  or call: 0800 559 009.

  • 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 


Community Welfare

First and foremost, we encourage you to look after each other by checking on elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours.

We are also encouraging our business community and landlords to show humanity and compassion and wrap as much support and assistance around affected people as they can.  

How to get the help you need 

Help is available if you or somebody you know is in a vulnerable position and in need of additional assistance.  

There are a number of ways to get the help you need, with options covered for the Otago region here.

If you are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident then you should contact the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) here: If you still require assistance after contacting MSD then you can register for help using our online form via the green button below.

If you are NOT a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident then you can register for help using our online form via the green button below, or

  • Call 0800 322 4000 (NB If you have already completed an online registration form there is no need to call the 0800 number as well).

If you are on a working visa please have your Visa Client Number ready to provide before you start completing the registration form.

If you need a bit of help completing the online form, the following agencies will be able to provide assistance over the phone.  Please contact:


  • Queenstown Salvation Army Community Ministries - 03 442 9661
  • Happiness House Community Support Centre - 03 442 6531
  • Citizens Advice Bureau - 03 442 6799


  • Community Networks Wānaka - 03 443 7799

Language assistance 

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

Welfare registration form

Our welfare support centre will move to a Monday to Friday operation from 2 June.

Support is available if you or somebody you know needs help. Complete the welfare form below and one of our team will contact you within three days.

To register a request for welfare support, you will need to create an account on our portal with a valid email address and set a password. Once you have created your account, you will be able to submit a welfare registration form requesting support.

To create an account, click on the green "Welfare Registration Form" button below. When you're taken to the portal, click "Don't have an account?", then 'Register using email".

Please note: Only New Zealand phone numbers will be accepted. You will receive a text message on the day of the call detailing when you can expect one of our team to contact you - this call will be made from a private number (if your phone does not accept private numbers please update your settings).

If you miss a call from us, please re-register on the Welfare Registration Form with all of your details again. If your application is filled out correctly we will add you to the next available call list.

Emergency accommodation and electricity

Help with accommodation and utilities is available to those who cannot access other support. This includes payments for rent, boarding fees, hostel fees, electricity and gas. Visit the Emergency Management Otago website for more information. 

Report a Suspected Welfare Fraud

Most people are honest and are entitled to the welfare assistance that they receive during this time of community difficulty due to COVID-19. However, we're aware that for a small group of people this isn't always the case.

If you are concerned that someone you know may be committing welfare fraud you have two options. Our preference is for you to report the concern by online form, please click here to be directed to the online form. Alternatively, you can e-mail your concerns to our welfare team:

You can remain anonymous and we'll do everything we can to protect your privacy.

Where authorised by law, we may share your information if the issue you've raised is more appropriate for another agency to deal with, e.g. NZ Police, Work & Income NZ.

If you don't want us to share this information with other agencies clearly state this at the beginning of your e-mail. This may prevent us from taking the best course of action to address your issue.

Here are some of the things we may want to know which will help us investigate your report.

  • The full name of the person who you think is committing benefit fraud
  • Any other names they are known by
  • Their address and phone number
  • Their age and date of birth
  • The type of welfare benefit you think they're getting
  • The type of welfare benefit fraud you think they've committed
  • Any other information you may wish to share with us

Don't worry if you can't provide all of the information in the list above. The more information you can give us the easier it is for us to work out a person's correct welfare entitlement.

Employment Opportunities

A number of job seeker channels are available to help support those looking for work.

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

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