Development West Coast Chief Executive Heath Milne welcomes the Government’s $12.1 billion relief package for the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The COVID-19 travel restrictions to Aotearoa New Zealand are already hurting tourist operators on the Coast, with more and more cancellations coming through. This is all on the back of recent major events like the Waiho Bridge washout, Omoto slip and the closure of SH6 in December,” Mr Milne says.

Tourism is one of the West Coast’s main economic drivers, contributing around 15% of the region's Gross Domestic Product and employing 3,657 West Coasters – around 23% of our workforce.

“Tourism operators have been some of the first to be impacted by COVID-19, but it is also important to remember they are not the only businesses to be affected,” Mr Milne says.

“The Government has acted decisively with the $12.1b COVID-19 relief package. It’s great to see an initial support package that will quickly get funds where they are needed to protect jobs. The 12 week’s support will provide businesses with some much-needed breathing space.”

The $5.1b wage subsidy scheme will pay employers up to $150,000 per business over the next 12 weeks to keep employees on, if they can demonstrate a 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June when compared to 2019.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Social Development and local businesses who have been affected by extreme events in 2019, like the Waiho Bridge washout. We need to ensure they are not adversely affected by any of the current criteria. We hope to have further clarification around this soon.

“The outbreak is having a significant impact on our local economy – we are in for a long hard road. Once the immediate public health issues are over, we need to be prepared for the recovery. DWC and West Coast businesses will start to plan for this as soon as the immediate threat passes.

“We recommend any business looking for advice on what support is available to contact DWC. We are here to help you during this challenging time. We are also here to advocate for West Coast businesses.

“To ensure we are well-informed on how the COVID-19 situation is impacting West Coast businesses we are also conducting a short survey. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete and will enable us to provide an evidence-based view to Government so that appropriate responses can be organised and delivered.

Complete the survey online at:

Contact DWC on 0800 768 0140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COVID-19 resources for West Coast businesses

Media Release: 18 March 2020

Driving and Supporting Economic Growth

• Take on this stimulating new role and contribute to the region’s success
• Use your commercial capability to drive business growth
• Make a real difference in your community
• West Coast based

Development West Coast (DWC) was established to promote sustainable employment and generate sustainable economic benefits for the West Coast Region. Supporting DWC’s strategic direction of growing business to grow the Coast, DWC needs an experienced and capable person to take on the role of Capability and Growth Advisor.

Reporting to the Capability & Growth Manager, you will be providing support, advice and information to businesses and industry throughout the region, and assisting the Economic Development Manager with facilitating and implementing plans and projects. You will develop relationships across markets and understand who to connect and how in order to get the best business outcomes. You will be comfortable talking in a front of a group of people, and be energetic and enthusiastic.

This is a key role within DWC developing strong, working relationships and resolving challenges. You will have proven capability in leading and driving the commercial success of business using your business experience and technical skills. In return, you will be rewarded with this new opportunity to enhance the economic success of this beautiful part of New Zealand while developing and progressing your career.

Position descritpion.

To apply, please submit your application via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Should you have any enquiries about the role, please contact Belinda Lunn email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 03 769 7000.

Applications close midday, Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Expressions of Interest

We're looking for expressions of interest in a one day workshop on an introduction to governance. 

This one day workshop will be faciliated by DWC and delivered by the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership. 

The governance module will explore the legal requirements of directors and the role of a Board. It will expose you to the responsibility of a director and the benefits of good governance, building your confidence and competency around the Board table.

Topics covered:
– Role of a Board
– Reporting, how and why robust discussion is the foundation of good decision making at a Board level
– Preparation and review for meetings, how to read and understand a board deck
– Law and legal obligations of Directors in NZ
– Defining the purpose of the Board and your role within the Board
– Ethics and social responsibility

If you are interested in this workshop, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COVID-19: Business assistance 

COVID-19 Business assistance.

As the situation with COVID-19 develops, we’re committed to helping keep our business community informed and provide support where possible. This page aims to provide a comprehensive set of resources to help West Coast businesses navigate through this challenging time.

If you need any assistance or clarification on how to access support, or would like to talk with one of DWC’s Capability and Growth Advisors, we are here to help.

Contact Development West Coast on:
Ph: 0800 768 0140
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Zealand at Alert Level 4

NZ is now at Alert Level 4 (Eliminate), which is expected to continue for a minimum of 4 weeks at this stage.

Under Alert Level 4 all non-essential businesses must close

Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

View list of essential businesses.

Businesses who need more advice can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

How businesses can access COVID-19 support.


Wage subsidies.

Download wage subsidy factsheet (PDF 146KB)

The wage subsidies will be available for businesses in all sectors and regions that can show a 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before (including projected revenue). 

Self-employed people with variable monthly incomes are eligible if they can demonstrate revenue loss against the previous year’s monthly average (eg. 30% loss of income attributable to COVID-19 comparing March 2020 to the average monthly income in the period March 2019 to March 2020).

If eligible, employers would be paid $585.80 per week for full-time staff, and $350 for part time. They will be paid in a lump sum.

The support will be available for twelve weeks. Businesses must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

You must retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.
The form is very simple, and the expectation is that payments will be expedited quickly. You must provide the following information:

  • Your IRD number.
  • Your business name.
  • Your business address.
  • Your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).
  • The names of your employees.
  • Your employee IRD numbers.
  • Contact details for your business and your employees.

More information: Work and Income 

Apply online: Employer applicationSelf employed/contractor application


Summary of tax changes.

- Download business cashflow and tax measures factsheet (PDF)

Business cash flow and tax measures include:

  • Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021.
  • Increasing the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 — and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year.
  • Allowing depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings from 2020/2021.
  • Removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) from 1 July 2020.

More information on tax changes: Inland Revenue


Other support.


Contact your bank.

The New Zealand Bankers’ Association is encouraging businesses and individuals financially affected by COVID-19 to talk to their bank. Depending on your circumstances, there are a number of ways in which banks can help. Potential measures may include:

  • Reducing or suspending principal payments on loans and temporarily moving to interest-only repayments.
  • Helping with restructuring business loans.
  • Consolidating loans to help make repayments more manageable.
  • Providing access to short-term funding.
  • Referring individual customers to budgeting services.


Mortgage Holiday Scheme & Business Finance Guarantee Scheme

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced on 24 March that a mortgage holiday scheme would be offered by retail banks. There will be a "six-month mortgage repayment holiday to homeowners whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19". The exact criteria will be announced by the banks in the coming days.

The Government and the banks will also implement a $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy through this unprecedented time.

The package is proposed to include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.

The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates.

Short survey.


How is COVID-19 impacting your business? 

To ensure we are well-informed on how the COVID-19 situation is impacting West Coast businesses we would greatly appreciate if you could participate in this short survey. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete and will enable us to provide an evidence-based view to Government so that appropriate responses can be organised and delivered.

COVID-19 Business Resources and Information


General resources: COVID-19 (New Zealand Government)

Financial support: Wage subsidies and leave and self-isolation support  (Work and Income)

Small business resources: Coronavirus: Information for businesses (

Tax information: Tax relief – COVID-19 (Inland Revenue)

Exporters/Importers: COVID-19 – Information for exporters (New Zealand Trade and Enterprise)

Māori Businesses: Support for Māori Businesses (Beehive)

Workplace response: Workplace response to coronavirus (Employment New Zealand)

Workplace preparedness: Workplace preparedness for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (WorkSafe New Zealand)

Privacy: Is it okay to tell other employees that a colleague is sick? (Privacy Commissioner)

Redundancy information: Coronavirus: Redundancy information for employers - pdf (Work and Income)

Immigration: Coronavirus update: INZ’s response (Immigration New Zealand)

TravelNovel coronavirus, China (COVID-19) (SafeTravel - MFAT)

TourismCoronavirus – Information for industry (Tourism New Zealand)

Accommodation sector: COVID-19 - Information for hotels and hotel staff (Ministry of Health)

Hospitality: COVID-19 guidelines (Hospitality NZ)

Health: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (Ministry of Health)

Landlords/tenantsCOVID-19 – what landlords and tenants need to know (Tenancy Services)

Education sector: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (Ministry of Education)

Mass Gatherings: Advice for public events (COVID-19)  (Ministry of Health)



2020 03 04 Chief Executives Report

I’ve just ended my second month at DWC and it’s been pretty hectic. A lot of my time so far has been spent meeting with various stakeholders and getting to know the people in our organisation. As expected, I’ve encountered a wide range of views. The most abundant feeling I’ve seen though is enthusiasm.

I’d like to thank all those who took part in our recent customer service survey, which again provided a wide range of views. Your feedback is extremely valuable and will be taken into account as we look to reset DWC for the future. As part of that we have started the recruitment process for an Economic Development Manager, which you may have seen advertised. I recently spoke at business breakfasts in Hokitika, Greymouth and a lunch in Westport. This was a good opportunity to meet more local businesspeople. It was great to see close to 100 people attend across the events.

I was asked to speak about the future of DWC, but I also gave some thoughts about where the West Coast is heading. As I see it, West Coast businesses need to back themselves more. What I mean by that is to look outside of the Coast and invest in innovation. In the last five years, only one new patent has been granted on the West Coast. To me, we may be in danger of being left behind.

One thing is for sure, the Coast will look vastly different in ten years time. We need to start thinking about what that means now so we can plan. The objective needs to be to influence the future, rather than let it happen to us.

Heath Milne | Chief Executive