Government looking at rent increase freeze to help during coronavirus lockdown

The Government is looking at introducing a rent increase freeze to help during coronavirus lockdown.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said freezing rent increases and extending no clause terminations were being looked at “to support people in this difficult time”. His comments come as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement this afternoon that the nation will need to go into self-isolation for a month. Mr Robertson says work is “urgently underway” to secure income of New Zealanders as the country’s Covid-19 alert system has risen to three, and will go up to four in 48 hours.

Last week, the Government announced a $12.1 billion Covid-19 business package, including a $8.7 billion injection into business and jobs, including wage subsidies and tax changes.

Originally, $5.1 billion was made available for wage subsidies to any business that has had a 30 per cent or more decline between January to June 2020.

 

Employers would be paid $585.80 per week for full-time staff and $350 for part-time workers, with payments capped at $150,000 per business. They payments will be available for 12 weeks and paid in a lump sum.

That $5.1 billion figure has now jumped up to $9.3 billion – pulling the worth of the entire business package up to $16.3 billion.

“What we’ve done today is extend our support and to keep New Zealanders in work,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said today.

“We have to borrow this money, this is additional support required.”

The $150,000 business cap has been removed completely and will also include charities and non-government organisations.