COVID-19: Grant Robertson asks businesses to 'hold tight' at level 3, hints at more financial support

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has hinted there might be more financial support for businesses on its way if Auckland's lockdown is extended beyond three days.

As of midday on Wednesday the city went to alert level 3, meaning all non-essential businesses had to shut. The rest of the country moved to level 2.

The lockdown came after more cases of community transmission of COVID-19 were confirmed on Tuesday. 

Four people in the same family in South Auckland tested positive for the virus, with none of them having any links to overseas travel or in contact with people linked to managed isolation facilities.

Ardern on Tuesday said Auckland would remain at level 3, while authorities investigate the origin and extent of the new outbreak.

With businesses still reeling from the last lockdown, however, many are concerned of the consequences if the current restrictions are extended past the initial three days. 

Speaking with More FM on Wednesday, Robertson hinted that the Government may provide more help to businesses if needed.

"We've had your back through this and we'll continue to do that," he vowed.

The Finance Minister said the Government still had $14 billion of its initial emergency COVID-19 package "left in the kitty for exactly this kind of circumstance".

However, he said it was still too early to tell if that support would be needed.

"The next three days are really critical for us in terms of doing the testing in Auckland - this is how we'll be able to tell whether or not we've got a small outbreak here that we're on top of or if it's something larger.

"We'll be able to make that adjustment over the next three days. I'll just ask businesses to hold tight during that period. 

"If the worst happens and we have to go into a longer period of restrictions, then people will be aware of the way we've supported businesses - and we'll look to do that again."

The initial 12-week wage subsidy ended up helping more than 1 million Kiwis stay in work, and was extended another eight weeks for those who needed it. 

It is currently set to expire on September 1.