$26m for South in wage subsidy

Otago and Southland have collected about $26 million from the Government’s wage subsidy scheme while the upper North Island has remained locked down, latest figures show.

The wage subsidy was introduced during last year’s Covid-19 outbreak to help support businesses during the lockdown.

Following the outbreak of the Delta strain of Covid-19 in August and the shift into lockdown, the Government reintroduced the scheme.

This year’s scheme, Wage Subsidy August 2021, was only available for businesses to apply for in two-week blocks.

In the third round of the subsidy, which ran from September 17 to September 30, Otago took $16 million to support 14,000 jobs and Southland claimed $3 million for 2000 jobs.

In the first week of the fourth round, which opened on October 1 and closed last Friday, Otago took $6 million to support 5000 jobs and Southland claimed $1 million for 1000 jobs.

The Ministry of Social Development is expected to update the figures for the second week at the end of this week.

For the first two rounds, which included Alert Level 3 and 4 restrictions for the South, the two regions claimed $127 million.

Across the country, more than $3 billion has been paid out to businesses, supporting 42% of all jobs.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has previously said the scheme would be available for businesses across the country while Auckland remained at a higher alert level.

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