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COVID-19 Relief Package

 
This page contains information about the $3m COVID-19 Relief Package, including how the relief funds will be allocated.
Updated: 3/07/2020 9:25 a.m.
Unite against COVID-19.

We have set aside $3m to provide support for community groups, businesses, and ratepayers. The Covid-19 Relief Package is designed to ease some of the stress and financial hardship faced by businesses, community groups and households impacted by Covid-19.

Council is here to serve the community. This Relief Package will contribute to the rebuilding of our District, addressing imperative financial needs within our community, building resilience, and strengthening our local economy and community wellbeing.

Community groups

The general principles applied in establishing the relief program for community groups are consistent with Council’s usual approach to community funding. Groups wishing to apply should refer to our Funding and Grants page for criteria and the application form. Most important will be showing how your proposal moves the district forward.

The Community Emergency Recovery Fund mechanism provides support for programmes, services or events that help our district to recover and build resilience. It is comprised of the following components:

Community Emergency Recovery Fund ($225,000)

Funding in response to specific exceptional community requests.  This is a contestable fund for community organisations or council partners to apply for support outside of normal community funding in response to COVID-19. The focus of the Fund is on supporting programmes, services or events that help our district to recover and build resilience.

Enhanced Operational Funding ($270,000)

This is additional support Council can provide through our existing community funding rounds and processes, where an applicant demonstrates it will help our district recover and build resilience. It is discretionary funding that goes beyond the levels of support normally provided for within a Fund. Groups apply to our community fund options as normal.

Directed Support ($315,000)

This is funding instigated by Council where we have identified a group delivering community support in response to the impacts of COVID-19. Council identifies and approaches a group with a specific offer of support. 

To find out more about the Community Emergency Recovery Fund mechanism or to apply, please see our Funding and Grants page or talk to the Community Funding Officer on 09-430-4200.

 

Support for Business

The proposed relief program comprises:

Partnership and support through Northland Inc, NorthChamber - $300,000

  • Support for Northland Inc with the 239 businesses that have come through the Business Helpline to date.
  • Discovery calls with businesses and offering support
  • Contributing to business sector intelligence for Civil Defence updates
  • Working with Northland Inc as the Regional Tourism Organisation to identify and develop from local government.

Inner city living and city centre redevelopment  – feasibility work and contribution to costs -  $420,000

  • Work with land owners, developers to look at a feasibility report for an exemplar development to outline how inner city living can be achieved and then share the learnings and information with the development community
  • Advocate and partner with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Kāinga Ora to deliver affordable housing in the city centre/city centre fringe
  • Support implementation of the City Core Precinct Plan / Complete Streets Master Plan. The implementation will also provide opportunities for local contractors with leverage of government infrastructure funding and subsidies to implement quickly.

Support for the promotion of our District and local businesses - $50,000

  • Hosting a website and using Whangarei Love It Here! social channels
  • Using the existing District promotion budget to promote the District and our businesses in a new way
  • Branding and promotional material.

Grant to offset 25% of licence fees for the Hospitality sector - $53,000

This proposal focusses on providing relief for:

  • Food premises, takeaways, cafes, restaurants, food carts
  • Commercial caterers
  • Some alcohol licensed businesses, such as restaurants, liquor outlets and bars
  • Hairdressers
  • Commercial camp sites

It excludes premises such as supermarkets, grocery stores, dairies, food producers and some off-licensed outlets, who were able to trade during the lockdown.

Because the licence fees for these businesses are set through prescribed statutory consultation processes and/or by-laws, it is not practical to adjust the fees themselves in the time available. It is instead proposed to provide a separate grant to offset 25% of the relevant fees.

Note that implementation issues, including the GST treatment for both WDC and grant recipients will be worked through if approval is given for this proposal.

Rental relief for council property tenants - $527,000

This package delivers rent relief for tenants of Council property who cannot access their premises for trading for an additional 6-month period (if needed) over and above concessions already made while in Level 4.

 

Ratepayer support

It is proposed to:

  • Extend the date for paying the first instalment by one month to 20 September 2020
  • Let people defer paying any rates at all for three to six months
  • Reduce the penalties for those who fall behind in their payments from 10% to 5%
  • Extend the date for adding penalties on prior years arrears by one month to 5 October 2020
  • Promote the option of a regular payment plan

General cashflow assistance for ratepayers

Council will continue to offer support for ratepayers through payment plans, offering more time to pay, waiving late payment penalties and offering advice on where to go for further financial help. 

Please see our Rates Relief page for more information:

 

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