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Week That Was: Staying home, saving lives

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government has striven to provide calm, clear and consistent communication, including daily press conference updates from the Prime Minister.

Monday 30 March

At the post-Cabinet press conference this week, the Prime Minister announced a new dedicated email for people wishing to convey concerns about price gouging at supermarkets. The email - pricewatch@mbie.govt.nz - was set up by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and is supported by a team committed to making sure no one is taking unfair financial advantage of New Zealanders while we deal with COVID-19.

The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to reassure the public that the vast majority of New Zealanders are complying with the lockdown. Those who do choose to flout the rules and endanger others are facing repercussions. If you do wish to report someone not co-operating with the rules, or a non-essential business that’s still open, use the Police's new online form to file a report: www.police.govt.nz/105support. This will help keep the emergency number free for emergencies. 


Tuesday 31 March

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister began her update by addressing the news that Australia will be extending their version of the wage subsidy scheme to many New Zealanders living in Australia. This was welcome news, especially as Australians are already accessing New Zealand's wage subsidy programme.

We also learned that supermarkets will be closed on Easter Friday to observe the holiday and give their essential workers some well-deserved rest. While the Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, many supermarkets are allowing staff to volunteer for that shift, rather than be automatically rostered on. We know the work our essential workers are doing is vital to keeping the country running while in lockdown, and they deserve our support and our gratitude throughout this time. 


Wednesday 1 April

Mid-way through the week, the Prime Minister hosted a Facebook Live to answer some of the most common questions we've seen around the Government response to COVID-19. These questions ranged from the availability of protective gear for frontline health workers, through to how we are monitoring the self-isolation of Kiwis returning to New Zealand. 

In addition to this Facebook Live, the Prime Minister also hosted her daily press update. She was joined at this by Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who gave further information about the economic impact of COVID-19.

#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 response

Posted by Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Thursday 2 April

During Thursday's update, the Prime Minister announced a leave scheme for essential workers. Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income. We need to make sure that essential workers that vulnerable, sick or otherwise unable to work are still able to take paid leave during this period. 

This scheme is designed to assist workers at the essential businesses that are still operating. It allows them to pay those workers who need to take leave due to the COVID-19 Public Health guidance at the same rates as the Wage Subsidy Scheme of: $585.80 per week fulltime and $350.00 per week for part time workers.

While on the topic of the Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Prime Minister shared that 750,000 people have received payment from the Wage Subsidy - 115,000 of which are self-employed. This support will ensure people remain connected to their jobs and income, and that business can successfully weather the impacts of COVID-19.

#LIVE Update on the COVID-19 response

Posted by Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday, April 1, 2020


Friday 3 April

The Finance Minister took over the daily update to announce further support for businesses to cushion the blow of COVID-19 and give them the confidence to keep trading. The Government is introducing legislation to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 remain viable, protecting jobs and incomes.

#LIVE: Update on the COVID-19 response

Posted by Grant Robertson on Thursday, April 2, 2020


As of Friday at 1pm, New Zealand reported 868 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 103 people now classified as recovered. We have 13 people around the country in hospital, with one person in intensive care. All of those people are in a stable condition.

We know case numbers will go up and things will look like they’re getting worse before they get better. By staying at home and reducing contact with others, we give ourselves the best chance to break the chain and stop COVID-19. 

We're committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and well-informed every step of the way. We'll continue to share updates and developments of the Government's response to COVID-19.

Visit covid19.govt.nz for the latest information on the COVID-19 coronavirus, including the alert levels, health, travel, education, business and community issues. 

Head here for information on our Government's economic response – from wage subsidies to rent increase freezes to mortgage holidays.


COVID-19: If you are concerned about coronavirus or feeling unwell, phone Healthline’s free dedicated COVID-19 number at 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS), for health advice. Find out more at covid19.govt.nz