COVID-19 Relief Package

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.

The Relief Package will contribute to the rebuilding of our District, addressing important financial needs within our community, and strengthening our local economy and community well-being.

Ratepayer support

We have the following options available:

  • You can defer paying any rates at all for three to six months
  • Set up a regular payment plan

General cashflow assistance for ratepayers

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

Please see our rates rebate and relief page for more information: 

Rates rebate and relief

Community groups

The general principles for the Relief Package 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:

Funding and grants

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.

Funding and grants

Support for business

Council’s COVID-19 response focuses on forming partnerships and support initiatives that will assist existing business to survive in the first instance, then develop and grow.

The proposed relief programme comprises:

Partnership and support through Northland Inc, NorthChamber and others

  • Support Northland Inc and other agencies to provide direct support, including the Regional Business Partners programme, to Whangārei businesses.
  • Develop sound business intelligence to assist business and local government to be in a position to make sound strategic decisions.
  • Work with Northland Inc as the Regional Tourism Organisation to identify, develop and clearly articulate our visitor industry value proposition.

Inner city living and city centre redevelopment – feasibility work and contribution to costs

  • Work with land owners and developers to produce a feasibility report for an exemplar development, outlining 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 and Complete Streets Master Plan. Implementation will 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

  • Manage our destination marketing channels including and Whangārei District Love It Here! social channels, and use them to promote Whangārei as an attractive destination.
  • Use the existing District promotion budget to promote the District and our businesses in existing and new ways.
  • Manage the production and dissemination of branded promotional material.

Grant to offset 25% of licence fees for the hospitality sector

This grant provides 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.

The fee rebate is being automatically applied for all qualifying businesses.

Rental relief for Council property tenants

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 and subject to meeting certain criteria) over and above concessions already made while in Level 4.