COVID-19 Advice for Publishers

The announcement that New Zealand will move to COVID-19 alert level 4 by Wednesday 25 March may not have been entirely unexpected, but it has still sent shock waves across the country. Here at PANZ we support the government’s effort to contain COVID-19, and although the next few weeks will be challenging for us all, we are committed to doing whatever we can to help.

Useful Resources and links

Wage Subsidy 
A wage subsidy is available if you are able to demonstrate a downturn in revenue of more than 30% since January 2020 compared to the same month in 2019.  Where you expect a downturn in the next three months then you can also apply. More details for sole traders here and for employers here.

Leave and Self-isolation Support 
Support is also available for sick leave for staff who are required to self-isolate.  These payments must be passed directly to the relevant staff. Useful links to the Government sites with more detail on the support available and to the online application portals are here and here.

Business Cashflow and Tax Measures
Other government measures include relief if you are unable to meet your tax obligations due to the impact of COVID-19. Assistance for businesses can be found here, assistance for individuals can be here and the Proposed Business Continuity Package for 2020/2021 here.

Self-employed Creative Sector Workers
We have received information from WeCreate regarding the self-employed creative sector workers’ eligibility for the COVID19 wage subsidy which might be of use to you. The Ministry of Social Development have been in discussion with Inland Revenue and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and have advised:

  1. Creative sector workers who can demonstrate either a 30%+ decline due to COVID-19 in their average monthly revenue across the last 12 months, or can provide proof of cancellations of work due to COVID-19 amounting to a 30%+ decline in revenue, will be eligible to access the Wage Subsidy.
  2. Self-employed creative sector workers whose primary source of income is from their creative endeavours, and who otherwise qualify for the Wage Subsidy, will be eligible as ‘working 20 hours or more per week’.
  3. Self-employed applicants should type in ‘Sole Trader’ in the ‘NBN number’ field of the application form.
  4. MSD were a little unclear as to the requirements for licences, permits, qualifications and such (as below), but seem most concerned about the economic criteria as above, and suggested that the below are not likely to require proof – though they will look into it:

The criteria also state that Sole Traders must have:

  • government licences and permits for their business needs, and
  • qualifications or registrations for their trade or profession

WeCeate advise that increasing numbers of sole traders and small businesses in the creative sector are being accepted for, and receiving, the wage subsidy with no issues. The scheme seems to be operating on a very high level of trust – so all applicants must ensure that they are able to prove their financial criteria for receiving the subsidy in due course.

Essential Services during Alert Level 4
Essential services are any the Government has decided can continue operating at their premises, under Alert Level 4. All essential services will still need to operate in a way that limits the risk of the spread and transmission of COVID-19.

The government has updated its list of ‘essential services’ as of 1 April 2020.  For a more details and a full list of essential services click here.

Creative New Zealand response to COVID-19
Creative New Zealand are exploring options for supporting the arts sector during the coronavirus outbreak. For information on the Creative New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response plus other resources and information relevant for literary publishers click here

Education New Zealand
For Education New Zealand’s response to the outbreak click here.

International Publishers Association
The International Publishers Association is gathering links to the activities of publishers, their associations and governments on its site here.

On a more personal note, this document offers useful suggestions to help us all develop resilience over this time.

The PANZ office is now closed but Catriona and Katherine will be working from home and are available by phone and email; please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Likewise PANZ Council will continue to work on support for members.