Tax relief for SMEs and support for commercial property tenants expected to be unveiled this week; Grant Robertson says Level 3 will be about 'safe economic activity'

Tax relief for SMEs and support for commercial property tenants expected to be unveiled this week; Grant Robertson says Level 3 will be about 'safe economic activity'

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is expected to unveil further support for business this week.

Speaking at a post-Cabinet press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he said he is looking at ways of using the tax system to support small businesses in particular.

The Government has already reinstated depreciation deductions for commercial and industrial buildings, raised the threshold for provisional tax payments, waived interest on some late tax payments and allowed immediate deductions for low value assets.

These measures, announced as a part of its initial support package on March 17, are worth about $2.8 billion.

Robertson is also expected to announce support for commercial property tenants in coming days, further to signalling this a fortnight ago.

He is working on recovery packages “across all sectors of the economy” that provide “direct funding” to firms and households.

All eyes will also be on what support will be provided for the media, in the wake of Bauer (which publishes magazines including The Listener, North and South, and Metro) two weeks ago announcing the closure of its New Zealand operations, and NZME (the owner of The Herald and Newstalk ZB) on Tuesday saying it will cut its workforce by 15%. These two moves are expected to result in more than 400 job losses.

Both Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recognise COVID-19 is exacerbating existing issues faced by the media.  

Ardern said the first stage of support will be about “triaging” before looking to longer-term solutions that go beyond the COVID-19 environment.  

Representatives of the major media companies will appear before the Epidemic Response Committee on Wednesday morning.  

Robertson will at lunchtime on Wednesday deliver a virtual speech to members of Business New Zealand. He’s expected to outline the principles around the May 14 Budget.

Income tax cuts, a CGT, raising the Super age off the cards

Robertson isn't considering income tax cuts as a way of stimulating the economy.

Asked by ACT Leader David Seymour, at the Committee on Tuesday, how he intended to inject more cash into the economy, he said: “I’m not focussed at the moment on tax cuts, David - I know that will disappoint you.”

Meanwhile Ardern has ruled out changing her tune and introducing a capital gains tax or increasing the age of entitlement for NZ Super to rebuild the country's balance sheet. 

Asked at a press conference whether she would reconsider her position on these matters, she said, "No."

Alert Level 3 about 'safe economic activity'

Robertson also told the Epidemic Response Committee government guidance around what operating a business at Level 3 will look like, will focus on what constitutes “safe economic activity”.

Ardern on Monday said “principles-based” guidance would be provided on Thursday, ahead of the Government on April 20 announcing whether the country will come out of Level 4 on April 23.

Asked by National’s health spokesperson, Michael Woodhouse, whether the guidance will be “sector-based” and detail which businesses can open at Level 3, or “risk-based” and detail what measures businesses need to have in place to operate safely, Robertson said: “Primarily the latter.”

“What we fundamentally want is a set of principles that can then be applied to particular industries, particular sectors, particular businesses,” Robertson said.

He acknowledged the need for more clear and precise guidance than has been given in the past.

Indeed, former Business New Zealand CEO Phil O’Reilly is among a choir of people who have called for more clarity from the Government to give businesses confidence.

In terms of what constitutes “safe economic activity”, Robertson mentioned things like physical distancing and contact tracing.

He said guidance around Level 2 would also be provided, yet this was likely to be expanded on/tweaked.

Robertson said he didn’t want to “yo-yo” between alert levels.

Under Level 3:

  • Travel in areas with clusters or community transmission limited
  • Affected educational facilities closed
  • Mass gatherings cancelled
  • Public venues closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, amusement parks)
  • Alternative ways of working required and some non-essential businesses should close
  • Non face-to-face primary care consultations
  • Non acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals deferred and healthcare staff reprioritised

Robertson mindful of asset bubbles

Coming back to Seymour’s line of questioning around government spending, Seymour asked Robertson how he would avoid low-quality spending and asset bubbles such as those seen after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

Robertson assured the analysis being done ahead of the Budget was “rigorous” and about the “long-term goals of the economy”. He said he was also mindful of avoiding creating asset bubbles.

The initiatives unveiled by the Government to date are worth over $20 billion. $8.9 billion has been paid out in wage subsidies already. Main benefits have also gone up, businesses have been given some tax relief, taxpayers are underwriting 80% of individual bank loans to certain businesses and support is being provided to the health, aviation and tourism sectors, among other things.

Parliament has given Robertson the mandate to borrow up to $52 billion before the end of June, should this be necessary, to fight COVID-19.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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84 Comments

21
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More of the same braindead thinking from Robertson. Rather than give everyone an income tax cut so they have cash in hand to spend, he'd rather guarantee bank loans and have the RBNZ engage in large scale asset purchases. The only way out of this is if everyone takes on more debt! And he says he is mindful of not creating asset bubbles. What an absolute fraud.

16
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I think he's really economically naive - dangerous. After all, didn't he study sociology?

It's a trend. Cullen was a history boffin if I remember correctly.

Stephen Joyce had a degree in zoology.

Whereas English had a year at Treasury plus some farming and a degree. The treasury year was Norah telling farmer he needed to expand his cv but in effect as a junior he would have been involved in getting the coffees sorted for the big boys and arranging the table at Mulligans.

Will you support cut to services in order to compensate for a reduction in tax revenue?

16
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Should I expect a hike in taxes to pay for the banks' bad loans?

Yes. Start with the tertiary sector. Bring back interest on loans, remove fees free, and reduce the subsidy from 90 odd per cent to 50 per cent.

Then to welfare. Increase the super age to 70. Reverse the recent increases in the benefit. Remove working for families and offset it with more income tax cuts.

There's a few billion of unnecessary and wasteful spending (and in the case of WFF, harmful spending) right there.

I don't think we should be considering lowering taxes as it takes funding away from HEALTH, Education and the poor .....which country is a role model that has lower taxes and happier residents with same or better health outcomes to NZ currently?

I don't think we should be considering guaranteeing bank loans as it takes funding away from Health, Education and the poor... But if we need to spend the money to mitigate the crisis, the money could be spent in a lot better ways - like income tax cuts, for example.

10
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We're going to 15%+ unemployment, which means a collapse in tax income. If you want that number to be smaller, you reduce the cost of labour for businesses.

As I indicated in my post, there are plenty of areas where spending is wasteful and can be cut. And it will be cut, make no mistake about it. Gone are the days where the NZ government gets a 7% increase in tax receipts year on year, which hides their wasteful spending.

All that does is reduce incomes and spending. It leads to a deflationary spiral. What we need now is a giant deficit spend for several years. Cut taxes or provide greatly increased income support. Put money in families' pockets and worry about the deficit when unemployment is back under control and inflation picks up.

The only problem with tax cuts is NZ has a history of lowering taxes for the middle income to rich. Tax cuts for the poor, a much better idea.

Except the poor are net recipients of government assistance. They're already well taken care of. Government would be better off dealing to their biggest costs - housing - by undertaking a mass social housing construction project and not charge market rental fees. If done at scale it could help flatten our ridiculous housing market. Looking at the tax working group findings, if anyone "deserves" a tax cut it is the higher income earners who are disproportionately contributing to society by having to pay for middle class and lower class welfare. It's no wonder we have so many property speculators (sorry, property "investors") in NZ...

Tax cuts?? Some people are just not understanding whats happening here. Even France is finally coming out of the 1970s and saying they might have to work more than 35 hours a week for the next few years lol. Tax cuts, NZ cant afford these for a long time, we will have a huge debt to pay off.

It's clear we can't afford our current debt levels anyway

Before the crisis started New Zealand's government net debt was in the vicinity of 20% of GDP. Among the lowest in the OECD. NZ can afford the debt and significant increases in debt. Eventually we will need to pay it down and this could take years. As for private debt that is a different story.

Why not just a cash payout instead like they appear to be doing in the US? That then treats everyone the same. In order to get advantage of a tax cut, you have to be earning money, which some people aren't as a result of this, and potentially higher income earners benefit more.

Sure, that's another reasonable option. The issue with one-off helicopter money payments is that everyone tends to save them, because they are unsure about the future. The benefit of a tax cut in this situation is that the recipient has the benefit of more cash over a longer term, as their income has increased. The absolute best thing you can do to encourage spending is to increase people's incomes. Drop the tax rates in the lower brackets, or move the tax brackets up by 20k, it doesn't really matter - if people have more money, they will spend more.

I'm not aware of the NZ context but in the US unfortunately/fortunately it turns out people spend windfalls. The Federal Reserve have done research into this, I want to say it was Claudia Sahms work but would need to look through google scholar to confirm.

I wish people kept six months of cash aside to act as a runway, I would love it of people where careful and prudent in good times. The fact they don't makes restructuring our economy is exceptionally difficult.

13
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Robertson assured the analysis being done ahead of the Budget was “rigorous” and about the “long-term goals of the economy”. He said he was also mindful of avoiding creating asset bubbles.

Any directives to curb banks extending sixty percent of their lending to one third of creditworthy households for the purpose of residential property speculation?

No, I'm pretty sure that's in line with the "long-term goals of the economy" judging by this lot's record.

11
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It's not "just this lots" record but "every lots" record.
None of them wants to upset their chances of re-election/election by offending the banking/property lobby. Until...maybe now?
If there was ever a shot at correcting the lending imbalances we have built into our system - it's now.
What gets in the way, immediately, is the looming election, of course, but if Robertson and Co can get past the fear of losing; get a systemic change in place before the election, then even if they end up on the Opposition benches National can press on with the'unpopular' policy as something they 'inherited' and can leave in place. This is one of those "Country before Party" moments for them.
Chance of that? Not high! But let's look on the bright side....

Very low chance I'd say. I would have thought the same as you, but everything this govt has done in regards to housing has been to keep the status quo, not solve the problem. There is zero chance they will effect a systemic change.

Hey give them a break, they built 100'000 affordable homes to help with he housing crisis ; )

Thanks for helping me crack a smile on an otherwise dismal afternoon, Yvil.

11
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Not still hung up on Kiwibuild are we?!
As I wrote yesterday, it was a goal; an aspiration that they tried to shoehorn into an economy that was frightened it might affect the price of established property prices; it might have affected their voters etc etc etc. It failed. So what?! That's how you get ahead. You have a goal; you try it; it either works or not, and you move on.
Well....that's all in the past now!
They can build to their heart's content if they so wish, but there are other priorities to be solved now.
Kiwibuild doesn't matter as it did because thousands of ex-speculative properties are about to enter stage left. Airbnb's that have no tenents; overcommitted landlords; FHBer families that crack under the strain of joblessness etc etc etc. The market of yesterday is dead. A new one HAS arrived, and it will be interesting to see exactly what it looks like!

14
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Building a $650,000 shoebox on a postage stamp in the ass end of Auckland was never going to affect property prices, the whole thing was a farce to begin with - and it only got worse from there.

Whats happening with the Unitec development at pt chev

But a world wide recession/depression surely will. And no immigrants for a year, no tourists will lead to a different kind of housing crisis.

I like you BW but you are wrong on KiwiBuild. Massive fail.

Can we all move on from Kiwibuild...and the flag referendum...bigger fish to fry don't you think?

Yeah I guess so. But the concern is relevant in so far as the govt have been shown to be poor at delivery. Which raises genuine concerns about their ability to lead us out of this shambles.
Remember, the impressive Dr Bloomfield is not part of the government. Unfortunately.

God help us please

I think you are being really harsh. Many politicians think way longer term than the next election.
Evidence how many are on bank boards. Didn't happen from one term ;)

10
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With construction, aviation, tourism etc all going to an almost complete shutdown, the government GST intake is about to reduce substantially. As a double whammy, most of money they give out to help will go against non-gstable mortgage repayments/loans. The business income tax will disappear and PAYE will drop significantly.

slowing down of construction will be a major blow. This is where the government is making a lot of money. For every $1m lending for houses being built, about $200k (this is my rough estimate) goes back to government in various forms of taxes now by the person who is lending to buy the property who will then use 25-30 years of his future income to pay it. That is massive.
Government will need to prop construction activities up on one hand and encourage people to borrow to buy houses on the other hand to have good tax income. I know people hate banks for how they have opened the credit tap and benefited from it, but government is by far the largest beneficiary of every new home loan being issued and they have acted consistent with this.

GDP will fall, debt will rise. Our healthy ratio won't look as good as what it did at the start of the year. Be interesting to see where it comes out later this year.

18
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" encourage people to borrow to buy houses "
That, is the biggest noose that this country has around its neck.
We have an opportunity to take it off - yes, it will be costly - or one day it will hang us.
It may have done this time, we won't know until we get to somewhere in the future.
But if 'now' isn't the time to change the fundamental structure of our economy, when is?

As for the last point in the list "Non acute (elective) services and procedures in hospitals deferred and healthcare staff reprioritised". My neighbour works at the local hospital here in Chch and they have so little to do, they are holding egg and spoon races up and down the corridors. I guess this was set in place expecting an influx of Covid sickies, but this obviously has not happpened. Best thing for the economy is to get people back to work and consuming.

15
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why bail out NZ Herald and load up debt on taxpayers? or for that matter any other sunset industries in the age of technology advances?

I know right? Equivalent of subsidising flint knapping rather than investing in metalurgy. I bet back in the copper and bronze age though, there was the same ideologies around maintaining the status quo and a bunch of tired old invested interests in flint knapping fighting the new tech.

Or opening a Gubmint Buggy-whip Factory in 1920.

CJ099 hahaha. No increase in inc tax and no cgt. However I will refrain from gloating in case they try and sneak through some other hard hitting property taxes. Unlikely though.

Haha..CGT tax on house prices falling.aka no capital gain...thats a sure way to bring in o tax!

They should introduce stamp duty and land tax for all, except first home buyers. Which will be a few hundred million yearly revenues. After all, Australia and other countries already had them for years

Not much good if people can't afford to pay this. Residential land earns no income, unless you are buying and selling it. We also already have a form of land tax, in the form of rates. The thing about any tax is that the public has to see that they are getting something from that money that is paid out, it is not just a money grab. .
Why not tax these large overseas companies that operate in NZ, but hardly pay any tax, and many of those will be doing well during this time as well?

All the proposals I have seen regarding a land tax is that it will be revenue neutral, so offset by a decrease in income taxes or GST. As New Zealand has a ridiculously high incidence of personal income tax compared to the UK, Canada, Australia and the US, I think it's something we should be looking into for that reason alone. Broaden the tax base, take the load off the average worker.

I am not sold on Land taxes. Look at the current situation.

Pre-Covid
Person 1 - works full time and owns family home. Taxed via PAYE
Person 2 - works full time and rents. Taxed via PAYE
Company 1 - Based offshore pays zero corporate tax.

Post Covid
Person 1 - Lost job, somehow has to stump up for land tax otherwise forced to sell
Person 2 - Lost job, rent has gone up to cover land tax. Can't pay rent, forced to move.
Company 1 - Still offshore sucking the funds and paying no tax.

How will the Land tax be revenue neutral? How will it actually benefit the local citizens?

We need to start looking after our citizens. It is company tax that needs to be looked into. Tax on NZ revenue would be the best option.

Financial transaction tax, offset by Company Tax and PAYE paid. Have all bank accounts linked to an IRD number. If i have Kiwisaver with my bank, it's still linked with IRD yet I see this in my bank accounts screen so it's doable.

I make $100k a year, I pay income tax on that $100k then up to ~$75k of outgoing transactions are FTT exempt. Tax paid puts my IRD account into "credit" and any outgoing transfers have their FTT debited against this IRD account until depleted. Have a threshold where it kicks in if needed, first $15k or whatever.

If a Multinational Corporate pays zero corporate tax, but shifts $1 million overseas each year there's no "credit" in their IRD account so the bank collects tax on the outgoing payment. If a small time builder is doing cash jobs and wants to store his cash under his mattress go for gold, if he deposits this cash into the bank then it'll eventually be subject to FTT (assuming expenses exceed tax paid).

Transaction tax will be a disaster. It raises too many questions, which lead to loopholes and abuse.
a) The banks will immediately want to take a cut for having to process it.
b) Large purchases will be a nightmare. Even under your "Threshold" rules. Oh, bought a house/car/boat/business/Term Deposit, well there goes my 75k, looks like I now pay a tax on everything I buy.
c) administratively, it sounds simple, but not for the end user. I have $2 in my account, I spend $2, why does my account show -$0.05?
d) it hits transactions that personally I don't believe should be taxed (Transferring between accounts, "Pocket money" to kids, etc...)
e) Double taxing, Friend buys 4 tickets to rugby, transaction is taxed. 3 others then transfer money to friend, taxed again.
f) Multiple "Transactions" for single purchase. i.e. used card in Australia on holiday to buy x at Target. Transaction tax on purchase, TT on Conversion Fee, TT on Bank fee.

Fair points and those are obviously issues to work through when implementing a tax like this.

a) The banks already get their cut, it's called a collective $5b a year in profits.
b) What if the FTT was say 1% but GST was able to be reduced to 10%?
c) Your account doesn't show -$0.05, that debit is applied against your "IRD" account which shows up within all your other bank accounts.
d) Transactions below a certain value could be exempt? But if that kid's pocket money is from income that's been taxed, then the FTT portion is exempt/offset against tax already paid.
e) Not if the 3 others are transferring money they've paid income tax on, the FTT portion is offset against income tax paid.
f) Again, if the money is derived from tax bearing income then the FTT is exempt.

"New Zealand has a ridiculously high incidence of personal income tax compared to the UK, Canada, Australia and the US"

New Zealand’s tax rates on personal income are relatively low. Its top marginal tax rate is the lowest in the OECD. The top rate applying to the average worker is the 13th lowest out of 29. The total tax paid by the average worker as a percentage of his/her total wages is the 9th lowest.

Personal income taxes in New Zealand are more neutral among different groups of people than is the case with many OECD countries. The tax system is less likely to favour people on lower incomes at the expense of those on higher incomes, nor married couples with children at the expense of single people.

Source: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/research-papers/document/00PLEcoRP99081/...

Depends on how you define personal tax. Personal tax rates are only a portion of the tax take on your income. Just talking about personal income tax rates means they are missing the big picture and basically a worthless conversation if you are talking about the tax burden individuals face. EG 15% gst paid on EVERYTHING, including essential services such as insurance, utilities, fresh vegetables, tax on taxes like rates, extra tax on dividends after the stock was paid for with AFTER tax money, MASSIVE EXTRA taxes at the fuel pump on top of gst, etc,etc etc ..sorry the govt already taxes the same dollar multiple times until it has a much reduced purchasing power in NZ.
No one earns that dollar, gets taxed once at their personal rate and then hides it under the mattress, that same dollar is taxed multiple times as they spend it to go necessarily go through their daily lives and that same dollar is taxed over and over and over.

Agree.
It would be billions of revenue, though.

Yes, but no exclusions for FHB or anyone else. Why introduce loopholes and distortions? Flat tax, applied across the board to everyone, bob's your uncle.

If you live in the beautiful gold coast and ditched this country why comment about taxes that nzers should pay. That's a typical response, suggesting taxes and impositions for others only.

Robbo may be proven to be right someday when asked to nearest $bln how much is the NZ GDP, which he stated $800mln. This might be the case with having him in charge, NZ GDP of $80bln.

10
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Income tax to go up then, possibly gst tweaks. Two things made me sit up at that briefing.
Firstly, Some idiot asked GR why they had relaxed restrictions on maintaining golf courses, a game for ‘rich white men’. That ‘journalist’ should come along to my club. Lovely old ladies who hit the ball 50 metres, tradesmen who hit it much further, poor white men like me, and an amazing ethnic mix, Maori, PI, Asian and more. GR didn’t disagree with him, either.
Secondly, and a better question, someone asked whether the public service would take a pay cut. ‘Oh no, they’re essential workers’ was PM Ardern’s response. Well, nurses and doctors might be, police, fire service too. But what about the myriads of spin doctors, planners, events staff, and so on. And Auckland Councils wage bill and staffing level is quite simply obscene.I don’t wish unemployment on anyone, but we’re in this together, surely? Pay freeze and sinking lid at the very least.

Agree, found the "rich white men" comment from the journo very off colour.

This would be a great time to implement a rigorous process to address building costs here they need to come down way down . This would assist in stimulating construction and renovation to get people working and addressing housing prices as well this process should address both material cost and compliance . Nzers have been ripped off for to long it should cost no more to build here than oz . Also release of land for sections this would be far more effective than the likes of kiwibuild projects

White is actually 'no colour' for the object or 'all colour' for the one viewing it.

This virus may be ageist but seems to hit the rich or poor, any colour/race and is non-sexist.

No surprise Journo not getting their facts right.

Agree but they are blinded by the fact that not all workers are government employees...so they not sure why giving people cheap loans, mortgage holidays, wage subsidy won't work and delay inevitable financial ruin.

I'd be fascinated to see the research that indicated commercial building deductions was a better stimulus measure than shoving cash into the hands of consumers. We all recognise a reach around when we see one.

Especially since the relaxation related to Depreciation, which is always a strictly non-cash double-entry: Debit Depreciation Expense, Credit Accumulated Depreciation.

I doubt any exists. It was however a recommendation from the tax working group and a very easy change to make that does help medium term interests. But it could have waited till the budget (probably it was simply brought forward).

Does anyone here think that reducing GST to 10% would have any meaningful effect on stimulating the economy?
I don't.

Yes, if applied to Food (like Australia). That would put immediate discretionary income up for the poorest (GST is an extremely regressive tax).

But it would also completely foobar GST in the sense of a single-rate, few-exemptions ad valorem tax.

Trade-offs, trade-offs....

I guess so. It's trump change for many, but for poor people a saving of $10 -$20 pw is probably quite significant.
Might help housing development a bit too.

"That would put immediate discretionary income up for the poorest (GST is an extremely regressive tax)."

Unlikely. The price would drop by a token amount to show that the supermarkets did pass through the cuts. Then over the next few weeks it would return to the post-cut price. End result = supermarkets make a better return on food.

Small business could have kept their prices the same and gotten an instant profitability increase.

Large businesses like supermarkets and utilities would've been forced to reduce their prices.

Reducing regressive taxes would likely provide a benefit for most of society. Just as lowering fuel taxes would reduce unemployment as people could broaden their search radius for employment opportunities and afford to take roles that paid a little less.

Hell most countries even have a zero rate. Why not start there?

Lightweight Care Bears

This is all moving fast, the tax base is going to evaporate so fast that all bets are off. There will be major back tracking on promises. The battle for unearned income is about to start in ernest, a land tax (capital gains is a waste time when property prices are being smashed) will be back on the table soon. It will come so fast also it will catch people with their pants down, just like the virus changed the game fast. There will be little time to make a strategic withdrawal. It is a battle, and to win you have to be quick and decisive. It will make turkeys of a lot of people that thought they knew otherwise.

"to win you have to be quick and decisive" ( and know what you're doing, of course!)
Let's hope that applies to Robertson more than any.

I dont think we need to worry about any possible income from CGT for quite a while...

There's a lot of disappointment on today's student package. My son is at uni, and I am a part time lecturer. The student union isn't happy.
If this is a sign of things to come, we should be very worried...

I got a strong feeling from JA talking this evening that stage 4 will be extended for at least another week and most likely two.
Better to knock it off now and pay the price all at once than go backwards and forwards between level 3 and 4.

2 degrees to lay of 10% of staff...here we go expect the same from most big businesses if not more. Add in all tourism, hospitality, events planning etc etc.. my money would be on Treasury worse case scenario to be realistic. Rest are just wishful thinking.

2degrees are laying staff off because their retail operations are shut but they still have to pay their staff their normal wages. They aren't eligible for the government wage subsidy because the retail employees are employed by the same company that manages their cell phone and broadband networks and they haven't seen a total 30% revenue drop across all of their business.

Contrast to Vodafone, where employees in the retail stores are employed by a separate joint venture company between Vodafone and another company. Their retail revenue has been down well over 30% and so they're eligible for the wage subsidy, thus don't need to fire anyone.

So this is more to do with 2degrees' corporate structure than anything else - most retail companies in NZ that are shut down are able to claim the government's wage subsidy so can avoid making staff redundant, for the next 6-8 weeks anyway.

Makes me wonder if 2degrees even attempted to discuss this particular discrepancy with the government or not - showing the revenue from their retail arm was down by over 30% and applying for the wage subsidy for only those employees.

The announcements I've been waiting for where from within banking where the cuts will have to be substantial and swift.

Just ring Bill English he did a brilliant job post gfc...superbly qualified....visionary....a safe pair of hands...

YES, but this cov-19 is a totally different situation, NOT ECONOMIC. a biological virus. The WHO has given the green light to China to open its wet markets. This is where possibly the virus came from and the cause. This is suspicious, did the virus come from this?. I think the WHO and various governments know more than what they are saying. check the book eyes of darkness on the net , it was written 1981

To change to lockdown 3 early is DANGEROUS, to be sure it needs to go for another month, then if the figures are ok then lockdown3, because people who have recovered from the disease, have developed it again. This has happened in South Korea. there have been waves of the disease.
The business round table wants it at level 3. They are NOT doctors. they like all kiwis have to wait.

I think lowering the age for the Superannuation is an interesting idea.

This would remove older people from the workforce, who perhaps are quite ok financially.

And makes room for younger people to take their place.

Better to pay more in super and less in unemployment maybe?