The Government is extending its small business loan scheme by three years, as well as increasing the interest-free period, as part of its Covid-19 economic response.
Around $1.6 billion has been loaned to nearly 100,000 businesses so far, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.
"Feedback from businesses has been extremely positive and we have been told the support was provided at a time when it was most needed," she said today after meeting with her Cabinet.
The scheme was originally set to expire at the end of the year, but the extension means businesses will be able to apply for loans until December 31, 2023.
The interest-free period has also been extended, from one to two years.
Ardern says the economic recovery from Covid-19 won't end in December "and nor should the scheme".
"Supporting small business by extending the interest-free loans will provide greater certainty, support confidence in the sector and help accelerate our economic recovery," she says.
"Different businesses may need to access the scheme at different times, so it’s important it remains as a backstop for them to fall back on if times get hard."
The extension comes as the last round of the wage subsidy scheme comes to an end, another effort to support businesses struggling under the Covid-19 impact.