Development West Coast (DWC) recommends local businesses affected by the wider impact of COVID-19 to tap into the various forms of support available.

“We are hearing loud and clear from our business community about the financial and emotional impact COVID-19 is having on their businesses,” says DWC chief executive Heath Milne.

“Many are already struggling with cashflow issues and the challenge of paying staff.”

“It’s important you talk to your bank, landlord, insurance provider and suppliers to see what options are available to get in front of cash flow issues early before they worsen. Another option is financial support available from the Government.”

The Government’s recent $12.1b COVID-19 relief package includes $5.1b set aside for a wage subsidy scheme.

“We encourage businesses who have been impacted to approach DWC for any assistance or clarification on how to tap into this support.

“The Government’s wage subsidy package will give businesses much needed breathing space and the ability to retain staff as the broader financial impact of the virus is felt.”

“The scheme also covers the self-employed, which is very important as 18.4% of our workers are self-employed,” says Mr Milne.

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

“Many local businesses experienced significant revenue disruptions in 2019 due to abnormal events - like the Waiho Bridge washout. We are in conversation with the Ministry of Social Development to ensure those who experienced these revenue anomalies in 2019 won’t be adversely affected when comparing months while applying for wage subsidies.

“Officials have acknowledged these issues and have reassured us that the genuine intent of the application is what is important. We await further clarification around this.”

If eligible for wage subsidies, employers would be paid $585.80 per week for full-time staff and $350 for part-time. Payments are capped at $150,000 per business. They will be paid in a lump sum. The support will be available for 12 weeks.

Businesses must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. These steps could include activating their business continuity plan and seeking advice and support from DWC as the West Coast’s Regional Business Partner or other professional service providers such as banks, accountants and insurance providers.

The businesses must also make their best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.

“If you need any assistance applying for the wage subsidy scheme, DWC is here to help you,” says Mr Milne.

Apply online for the wage subsidy:

Contact DWC for any assistance or advice: 0800 768 0140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 19 March 2020

Information for businesses