We started the week by announcing free apprenticeships to support Kiwis into work and to help get New Zealand moving again - and we ended the week by extending the wage subsidy to 40,000 more businesses, helping to protect businesses and workers alike.
This week, to help get Kiwis into work, we announced that from 1 July, all apprenticeships will be free and that we’re removing the cost of trades training in targeted areas.
This initiative will support Kiwis to train and upskill in areas that are likely to grow as New Zealand gets moving again, and help businesses to keep their apprentices on as they recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Following the success of our united public health efforts, New Zealand's economy is quickly becoming one of the most open in the world.
We need to make sure businesses continue to get the support they need to recover and rebuild as we get New Zealand’s economy moving. That's why we've announced further assistance for businesses that continue to be affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, by extending the wage subsidy to an extra 40,000 businesses.
After listening to feedback from businesses, we've also lowered the required revenue drop threshold from 50% to 40%.
This change is the latest measure we've taken to successfully protect jobs and give businesses the ability to stay connected to their workers as the economy reopens. In addition, we're also giving small businesses more time to apply for interest-free loans, extending the application date from 12 June to 24 July.
In order to protect jobs and get the economy moving again, we've made extensive support available for businesses, including a tax carry-back scheme, the Business Finance Guarantee, commercial rent support, and targeted support for key sectors.
Period poverty affects tens of thousands of young New Zealanders, who miss out on school and other activities due to a lack of access to period products. This week, we announced a new initiative that will help remove these barriers by providing free period products in schools, to those who need them.
The programme will initially be rolled out to 15 state schools in the Waikato region, and then expanded so all state and state-integrated schools can opt-in from 2021.
We're cracking down on high-cost lenders and truck shops. From 1 June, mobile traders and truck shops must meet requirements, such as checking that the repayments will be affordable, before agreeing to sell goods on credit.
We know that New Zealanders are doing it tough due to the global economic impacts of COVID-19. These changes will help to ensure that lenders can't take advantage of people in vulnerable situations.