Govt announces temporary $490 per week payment for Kiwis unemployed due to Covid-19

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has today announced a temporary payment for New Zealanders who lose their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Grant Robertson says the scheme is similar to ones in place after the Christchurch earthquakes and Global Financial Crisis. Source: 1 NEWS

The $570 million scheme, called the Covid Income Reflief Payment, is aimed to help people adjust and find new employment or retrain.

It will be available for 12 weeks from June 8 for anyone who has lost their job due to the impact of Covid-19 since March 1. It will pay $490 a week to those who lost full-time work and $250 for part-time. The payment will also not be taxed.

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The Government will pay $490 a week to people who’ve lost full-time work. Source: 1 NEWS

"The Government’s priority is making sure people are in work and able to find new work if their job has been impacted by Covid," Mr Robertson said.

"That’s why we made a $1.6 billion investment in the Budget to help people retrain. The Budget also invested to create practical jobs for New Zealanders through environmental work, construction and infrastructure. This payment will help Kiwis as they make these transitions."

Mr Robertson compared the scheme to the Job Loss Cover payment, which was introduced by the previous Government during the Canterbury earthquakes. He also said it had similarities to the ReStart package for workers who lost their jobs in the Global Financial Crisis.

"We know these schemes reduced the impact on people who lost their jobs due to those shocks. They show how important it is for people to have a safety net to support themselves and their families as they look for new work or retrain.

"As we move from the respond and recover phases of our Covid response, and towards rebuilding the economy, we have an opportunity to reset some of the foundations of the safety net for working New Zealanders."