Coronavirus: 26,000 resurgence support payment applications made in one day

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the economy is in a strong position to weather COVID-19 and there's enough money to help businesses through.

Nearly $500 million has already been paid out through wage subsidies and applications for further support opened on Tuesday.

Craig Stinson, the owner of Calibre Salon in Wellington, is one of the thousands of employers who have applied for the resurgence support payment to keep his business afloat.

He says he's postponed about 250 appointments so far during the lockdown and that number is expected to grow.

"We're going to use it to help pay our rent and some of our suppliers because it was the 20th of the month a couple of days ago so all those bills were due."

About 26,000 applications for the resurgence support payment have been made since it opened on Tuesday morning.  The payment includes a core rate of $1500, plus $400 per employee. 

It's capped at $21,500.

To quality, businesses have to have taken a 30 percent hit on revenue over seven days.

"Businesses shouldn't wait to find that out," says Simon Arcus, chief executive of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"Our advice really strongly is: make the application now and get in even if you think that decline is going to happen."

That decline is happening rapidly for Air Chathams - it's only flying essential cargo to and from the islands.

"Our numbers are around 95 scheduled flights a week, this week we're going to operate five," says general manager Duane Emeny.

The airline relies on Government support to survive.

"With overheads, we only have months," Emeny says.

Since Friday, more than 127,000 that were forced to close up have successfully applied for the wage subsidy. So far, the Government has paid out more than $480 million.