Last updated 06/04/20 4:37 pm
This page provides updates to the latest COVID-19 news relating to Whanganui businesses. For essential information relating to COVID-19 for your business, head here.
There are three free webinars for Whanganui businesses coming up this week:
· Tuesday at 2:30pm: Navigating COVID-19 – Financial Management
· Wednesday at 2pm: Q&A with Horsley Christie Lawyers
· Thursday at 2:30pm: Navigating COVID-19 – Communicating in a Crisis
Tuesday and Thursday’s webinars are brought to you by Whanganui & Partners and CEDA. Wednesday’s webinar is by the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce.
A new report from Google shows that by 29 March, the Whanganui-Manawatu region saw a 54% drop in people spending time in workplaces compared to a pre-COVID baseline. Nation-wide, there was a 59% drop in people spending time in workplaces.
Consumer spend in Whanganui for the week ending March 29 was down 6.9% from the same week last year. New Zealand-wide, spending decreased by 22.7%.
The first in a series of free business webinars delivered through the Regional Business Partners Network was completed on Thursday and is now online.
Due to the COVID-19 situation dates for the current Whanganui Creative Communities funding round have been pushed out and will now close 14 May.
A number of Whanganui businesses are participating in SOS Café,a nation-wide initiative set up by Whanganui-born businessman David Downs to help cafes and restaurant sell gift cards during the lockdown. Gift cards can be redeemed when they re-open and will help provide revenue during this time.
Whanganui & Partners’ latest update has gone out to subscribers with details around the business support available through Whanganui & Partners.
The Whanganui Chamber of Commerce is offering businesses and community organisations three months free membership.
The Government has launched a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses. Under the scheme, businesses with annual revenue between $250,000 and $80 million can apply to their banks for loans up to $500,000, for up to 3 years.
The Government is planning to invest significantly in major infrastructure projects once the country moves into recovery mode and is currently seeking appropriate projects. The projects will be in addition to existing Provincial Growth Fund projects and are intended to address the country’s infrastructure deficit as well as create jobs and buoy the economy.
Whanganui & Partners and CEDA are collaborating on a series of free webinars for business owners. The first in the series will focus on business continuity planning, hosted by Whanganui’s Russell Bell of Balance Consulting.
As part of the Regional Business Partner (RBP) network, Whanganui & Partners has a team member dedicating to providing business support. This support may be especially valuable to businesses during the pandemic and includes:
To access these services, register at regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz.
Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead – Manufacturing, Commercial & Logistics, Rhonda Morris, is currently supporting the emergency effort as part of the Civil Defence team, after which she’ll move on to a new role at MediaWorks. Rhonda was a great asset to our team, and we want to thank her for all the great work she did at Whanganui & Partners. We look forward to working with her in her new position.
Support for manufacturing, commercial and logistics sectors will now be handled by Tim Easton.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has updated its definition of essential goods to include those that will keep people warm (heaters, blankets), replace key household appliances, and maintain people’s health.
On Friday, the Central Government announced some changes to the Wage Subsidy scheme, including wrapping Leave Payment into the Wage Subsidy. For details, please see MSD’s COVID-19 page.
The cancellation of Artists Open Studios as well as the Auckland Art Fair reflects the loss of two important revenue streams for Whanganui artists. To support our local artists during this time, Emma Bugden has joined the Whanganui & Partners team as Strategic Lead – Arts and Creative Industries.
Artists facing a loss of income due to the pandemic are encouraged to apply for the Wage Subsidy, and Creative New Zealand has developed a comprehensive FAQ around the support available.
The below Facebook page is a good source of news and support for NZ artists during the pandemic.
Over the weekend, the Prime Minister shared a video of a factory in Whanganui producing face masks that protect essential service workers. A strong manufacturing sector has always played an important role in our local economy, and we’re proud to see our businesses and workers is playing an important role in the pandemic response.
From 16-22 March, Whanganui consumer spend was up on the previous year by 16.6%. This was driven by a 54.1% increase on food, liquor and pharmacy spending. Across New Zealand, spending increased by 10.1% on the previous year.
MPI is asking businesses to be registered as essential services by 5:00pm on Friday 27 March 2020. To see if you need to register and to complete the registration, please see the MPI link below.
For information on the support available to employers and how to apply, visit the Ministry of Social Development’s COVID-19 page.
Need to talk to someone local about the wage subsidy and leave payment package? MSD’s local team can help you:
Creative New Zealand has released advice on currently funded projects that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our friends at Infometrics have been sharing regular information about the economic outlook, including a webinar touching on the impact that will likely be felt across different sectors due to the pandemic. Some issues of interest to our district include:
The NZICPA reports it is in a strong position to weather the economic impact of COVID-19, with enough students currently in the country to operate through March 2021.
The Upokongaro Bridge, which forms part of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail, has been put in place across the Whanganui river.
The Business Finance Guarantee Scheme will provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress on solvent small and medium-sized firms affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
If you're experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, the IRD has a range of ways to help depending on your circumstances.
Creative New Zealand has announced its Emergency Response Package in response to COVID-19 will include a first phase $16 million investment to buffer and support the arts community.
New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 3, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. On Wednesday 25/03/20 at 11:59pm, New Zealand will move to Level 4.
Ensure you are clear on whether you are considered to be an essential business:
Due to COVID-19, the Innovation Quarter, which is the workplace for Whanganui & Partners, the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce, 100% SWEET and Te Manu Atatu, is closed. The team will be working remotely at this time. You can contact Whanganui & Partners via phone, email or Facebook.
Phone: 06 349 3119
Due to COVID-19, the i-SITE is temporarily closed to the public. You can still make enquiries or bookings by contacting the i-SITE via phone, email or Facebook.
Phone: 0 800 926 426
All events are now postponed.
Together with organisers, further details will be provided on new timings once the alert level reduces.
Event applications may still be submitted but decisions on funding will not be made at this time.
The Government has developed a plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. This includes a whole of government approach to providing health, social and economic support tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori.
Consumer spend data from February in Whanganui showed a strong result of being +9.1% on February 2019 (note that there was an extra day in February 2020. The national average increase was 6.0%).
Whanganui & Partners has set up a private Facebook group for local businesses and individuals working in the visitor sector. This forum will serve as an informal venue for information sharing and conversation around issues affecting the visitor industry. To be apart of it, follow the link below and request to join.
The Central Government has announced a $12.1bn economic relief package. Read more about the details of the package, which includes a wage subsidy scheme, leave and self-isolation support, business cash flow and tax measures, and check it you or your business qualifies for support. If you think you do but need assistance accessing that support, Whanganui & Partners may be able to help through our Regional Business Partners Network.
The Central Government has set up a dedicated COVID-19 website. This is a comprehensive resource with information for everyone, including businesses, visitors and the community.
As part of their economic relief package, the Central Government is putting $600 million towards support for the aviation sector. Air Chathams is Whanganui's airline and Whanganui & Partners supports the Air Chathams team during this challenging time for the aviation industry.
Get in touch with us.