MSD Taranaki King Country Whanganui Region
COVID-19 Community Update
7 March 2022
As case numbers increase, I want to acknowledge the uncertainty many of us are facing in our communities.
We have a range of resources to call on and it’s important that people understand the level of support available.
Everyone, whether fully vaccinated or not, should prepare for what they might need to do if they get COVID-19.
Being ready is about making sure that you and your household have a plan and know what to do if you have to self-isolate. It may allow your whānau and community to help each other if needed.
Request welfare support in self-isolation
Many of you will be able to look after yourselves or have support from friends and whānau. However, some people may need things like food and groceries.
At MSD, we are working alongside Health, Iwi/Māori and Community Providers to co-ordinate support and connect people with the right service.
People do not need to be on a benefit to receive help.
There are different ways to access welfare support including an online form and the COVID-19 Welfare phone line 0800 512 337 between 8am to 8pm.
People who test positive will receive further information about this support. A copy of the flyer they receive when testing positive is attached.
It’s also important that we reach out to our own networks and stay connected. We’re attaching a useful flyer from Neighbourhood Support called Kia Ora Neighbour. For additional resources from Neighbourhood Support see their website COVID-19 | Neighbourhood Support New Zealand
If you are a provider and community organisation or agency and you require resources these can be downloaded through the Unite Against COVID-19 online platform, Toolkit Portal | COVID-19 Resource Toolkit (covid19.govt.nz). These can also be translated into 27 languages, which can be found here.
Our region is well prepared, and we want to reassure you that many agencies and organisations are working together in an unprecedented level of collaboration.
Below is helpful information on employer and employee support.
Mā tātau katoa e ārai atu te COVID-19.
MSD Regional Commissioner Taranaki, King Country, Whanganui.
Support for employers and employees
COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP)
Applications for CSP opened on 28 February 2022 for the period starting 16 February. This is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations which have experienced a 40% or more drop in revenue as a result of a range of circumstances. Read more at the IRD website COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP) (ird.govt.nz)
Other employer support during COVID-19
If you employ people or are self-employed, you can apply for COVID-19 support. This helps you pay wages for yourself and employees who can’t come to work and can’t work at home. There is no revenue test, and these payments are not a Wage Subsidy. Find out more at the Work and Income website COVID-19 support for employers – Work and Income
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
Help to pay wages and salary costs if your employee is self-isolating and can’t work at home. Self-employed people can also apply.
COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
Help to pay wages and salary costs if your employee can’t work while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. This helps your employee stay at home if they or anyone in their household is waiting for a test result. Self-employed people can also apply.
Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)
Under this scheme the Government provides loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Employers can apply through myIR. Read more on the Business NZ website here.
COVID-19 Financial Support Tool
Helps people understand what they might be entitled to. Find Covid‑19 Support
COVID-19 Employer phone Line
Call 0800 40 80 40 to find out about COVID-19 payments for businesses.
Hardship support for employees
MSD provides financial assistance for people, whānau and employees on a low income, even if it is temporary. They do not have to be on a benefit.
The increase to income thresholds for hardship assistance has been extended to 30 June 22. The increased income limits mean single people 18 years and over, earning under $800 a week, or couples earning under $1600 a week may be eligible for assistance. MSD Service centres are open, and people do not need proof of vaccination or to show a Vaccine Pass to enter.
Vaccination assessment tool
If your business or workplace isn’t covered by a government mandate for COVID-19 vaccination, you can choose to do a risk assessment to see if you require work to be carried out by vaccinated workers, on health and safety grounds. Read more Vaccination assessment tool — business.govt.nz or on Employment NZ here.
Close Contact Exemption Scheme
To help keep New Zealand going during the Omicron outbreak, critical businesses and organisations can keep critical staff working. Register for the scheme at Testing and isolation requirements for businesses during Omicron — business.govt.nz.
Find out about how to order a Rapid Antigen Test Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ
Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) for other groups
Businesses outside the critical services group can also use RATs as part of managing the health and safety of their workers but will need to secure and pay for their own supplies of RATs. Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ
RATs are available for the public if they develop symptoms or become a household contact of a case. Details on how to request a RAT are on the Ministry of Health website Rapid antigen testing | Ministry of Health NZ
Guidance on entitlements and employment agreements
For general guidance on COVID-19 and the workplace see Employment NZ website under COVID-19 and the workplace » Employment New Zealand
MSD phone lines and support
- 0800 559 009 for under-65s, General Enquiries
- 0800 552 002 for NZ Super and Veteran’s Pension
- 0800 88 99 00 for students
- 0800 779 009 for Job Search
- 0800 778 008 for Employers Services team
- 0800 512 337 for COVID-19 Welfare phone line
- 0800 40 80 40 for COVID-19 employer support
- Interpreters are available as well as services for deaf, hearing-impaired or speech impaired. Contact us at Work and Income website or MyMSD if you require the support.