COVID-19: Easing money worries

Help with money during the pandemic

Key points about easing money worries over COVID-19

  • With COVID circulating people are finding it hard to pay the bills.
  • Here's some information about where you can go for advice and financial support as well as suggestions for how to cope on a smaller budget.
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(Healthify NZ and Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand, Waitematā, 2022)
Descriptive transcript in English(external link)
View transcript in Cook Islands Māori (external link)
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The pandemic has obviously had an impact on employment. Industries such as accommodation and food services, retail trade, manufacturing and construction have been the worst hit. In Tāmaki Makaurau the largest impact has been seen in accommodation, food services and retail. This means workers in these industries have had their employment disrupted. Read more about employment support during COVID-19. 

Loss of employment has serious impact on finances so many whānau and households will be struggling to put kai on the table, pay rents and mortgages and keep their whare warm and dry. Losing work and income also affects your hauora (health) and puts pressure on how you keep your life and health in balance.

If you find you're struggling, read more about:

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Here are some resources and places to go to get information and financial support to help you through this difficult time.

COVID-19 welfare 

The COVID-19 welfare phone line(external link)(external link)(external link) 0800 512 337 is available Monday–Friday 8am–5pm and weekends and public holidays 8am–1pm. It's a free service that can help you with:

  • food and essential items
  • mobile data so you can keep in contact with friends and whānau
  • support for personal care or daily tasks
  • talking to your employer if you are worried about your leave or pay
  • mental health support
  • support with family or sexual violence.

This tool(external link)(external link)(external link) allows you to find out what financial support you could access if your income has been affected by COVID-19.

Government and tax assistance

The Inland Revenue Department(external link)(external link)(external link) (IRD) offers several ways to assist with COVID-19 hardship.

There is a cost of living payment of $350 divided into 3 payments, the first of which was paid on 1 August 2022. For those who meet the eligibility criteria this is automatically applied, but the IRD needs a correct bank account number to make sure the payment can be processed. Read more about the payment and who is eligible.(external link)(external link)(external link)

There's some flexibility if you can’t pay your tax on time because you've been affected by COVID-19. This applies to penalties and interest for tax payments that were due on or after 14 February 2020 up until 8 April 2024 (including provisional tax). Read more about asking for financial relief.(external link)(external link)(external link) 

The Small Business Cashflow Scheme(external link)(external link)(external link) (SBCS) was introduced to support small to medium businesses and organisations struggling with a loss of actual revenue due to COVID-19. Applications are open until 31 December 2023.

Work and Income NZ (WINZ) for whānau

The WINZ site(external link)(external link)(external link) has links to find out about the supports available for individuals, whānau, employers and self-employed people affected by COVID-19. 

All the information on WINZ sites is provided in a variety of languages. 

If you’ve lost your job or can’t work, you may be able to get a benefit, some other financial help or support to find work. It may be possible to get help even if you’re working and on a low income. You may be able to get help with the cost of food, accommodation, power, gas, heating or water and medical and dental care. Read more about help for you and your whānau.(external link)(external link)(external link)

There are options for help with urgent or unexpected costs(external link)(external link)(external link) (even if you’re working). These include:

  • food
  • accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board)
  • power, gas and water bills or heating
  • dental treatment
  • glasses
  • whiteware (eg, fridge, freezer, washing machine)
  • medical costs
  • home repairs and maintenance
  • car repairs
  • bereavement
  • fire or theft.

WINZ for employers

There is a COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme(external link) available to employers, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who must self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can't work at home during that period.

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment(external link)(external link)(external link) is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who can’t work from home while they (or their dependents) wait for a COVID-19 PCR test result (this doesn’t apply to RAT tests).

Auckland City Council

The Auckland City Council is offering postponement of rates for residential property owners who meet their criteria. Read more about the rates postponement scheme and how to apply.(external link)(external link)(external link) 

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Hardship and budgeting

Health and wellbeing


Read more about eating well for less and where to get help if you are having problems putting kai on the table.



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