Support for the primary sectors during the COVID-19 response

We appreciate that COVID-19 and its associated restrictions are affecting those in the primary sector. Stress is a normal response to a situation like this. Help is out there.

It’s important to get a support team around you. Family, friends and trusted advisers will be able to help you. It can also be good to seek support, assistance and expertise from someone not directly involved in your business.

Worried about your own or someone else’s mental well-being?

The best place to get help is your general practitioner (GP) or local mental health provider. Each district health board (DHB) website includes a list of local mental health service providers.

Find your local DHB website

If you prefer to talk to someone else, the COVID-19 website has some resources to help.

Expand All
Business support services

A number of Government and other agencies also provide information and services relating to business and employment.

Heartland Services

Heartland Services is a branch of MSD that helps people living rurally with a wide range of government services. There are 28 Service Centres around the country. You can access services and information there, and arrange meetings with government agency representatives.

Heartland Services

Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) 

The CAB offers free, confidential, independent information and advice to New Zealanders. They cover topics like employment and business, money, and health and well-being.


Call 0800 36 72 22

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

MBIE has information to help you explore alternatives to support your business, including finding ways to turn around your finances.

Getting financial advice –

Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue has information for businesses that are making a loss, including how you can use a loss to reduce future taxable income.

My business is making a loss – Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue’s Emergency Helpline: 0800 473 566

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ)

WINZ is the branch of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that offers support services for businesses that experience any change, such as downsizing. They can work with you before and after business changes to help your employees with any transition.

WINZ also has information on Jobseeker Support. You can apply for Jobseeker Support online.

How we can help – MSD

Jobseeker Support – Work and Income

Work & Income General Enquiries: 0800 559 009

Te Puni Kokiri

Te Puni Kōkiri has information to support Māori primary sector  businesses.

Changes to your business

Organisations offering advice and support as your primary business needs change.

Māori Business Growth Support

A service from Te Puni Kōkiri. If you identify as Māori and your business is an independent entity based in New Zealand, this service can provide you with business support, advice, and connections. Its focus is mainly on small to medium-sized enterprises.

Māori Business Growth Support

Business Mentors NZ

Business Mentors New Zealand Limited is a not-for-profit organisation committed to helping businesses when they need financial help, or are experiencing issues innovating and staying productive, or are determined to grow.

Business Mentors NZ

Regional Business Partners Network

The Regional Business Partners Network can give you a whole-of-business view on your business and help you connect with the right resources and experts so you can build capability and grow. They are a national network of people who can provide help when you want to grow your enterprise efficiently and effectively.

Regional Business Partners Network

Innovating in times of change

It’s important to consider what changes to your sector might mean for your business. The primary industries are constantly adapting to change, and MPI can support problem-solving and innovation in New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors by co-investing in initiatives that make a positive and lasting difference.  Support can be provided through Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) for small grassroots community projects to large-scale industry development.

SFF Futures

Expand All
Support for farmers


Help with managing your financial and mental wellbeing and where to go for help and information for farmers, growers, workers and families.

Managing through tough times [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Rural Support Trusts

Your local Rural Support Trust is a great place to start for a free and confidential chat. Rural Support Trusts have people experienced in farming, adverse events, and stress management and, with your agreement, can put you in touch with other services that can help.

Call 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)  

Rural Support Trusts


A nationwide wellbeing programme for the rural community.


Federated Farmers

New Zealand’s independent rural advocacy organisation has much information on support for farming in the COVID-19 environment.

Call 0800 327 646

Coronavirus information - Federated Farmers

Your veterinarian

Your vet is often a friend or trusted advisor to your business. Seek their advice.

Rural Women New Zealand 

Call 0800 256 467

Rural Women New Zealand

Industry Associations and primary sector companies

Your sector organisations can provide technical advice, including also useful information to support your through stressful situations.


DairyNZ has dairying-specific information about COVID-19, and this includes wellbeing support for farmers.

Call 0800 4 324 7969

COVID-19 - DairyNZ

Beef+Lamb New Zealand - 

Beef+Lamb New Zealand COVID-19 support information for sheep and beef farmers.

Call 0800 733 466

COVID-19 support information -Beef+Lamb New Zealand

Deer Industry New Zealand 

This deer industry body has sector-specific information in COVID-19.

Call 04 4734500

COVID-19 information

Drought Assistance

If you are in hardship because of the drought, you can apply for Rural Assistance Payments to help with essential living costs.

Your local Rural Support Trust can help support you through this process and help you complete the application.

Rural Assistance Payments - Work and Income

Support with feed planning

A feed budgeting service is available for any farmers or lifestylers who need assistance on planning their animals’ feed.

Get support with your feed planning [PDF, 486 KB]

Support with Mycoplasma bovis concerns at this time

If you have any questions regarding Mycoplasma bovis, get in touch with our Liasion team.

Support for fishers

Find out about some regional and national services that can give help and advice with health, well-being, and making business decisions.

Support for forestry

Returning to work after the lockdown represents a number of challenges. We encourage people working in this sector to contact one of these representative organisations if they require additional support or information.

The Forestry Industry Safety Council

The Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) works to reduce serious harm and death in New Zealand's forests. They have published a set of protocols and tools to provide useful information to the sector as they prepare to return to work.

Useful forestry links - Safetree

The Log Transport Safety Council

The Log Transport Safety Council supports and collaborates with Truck operators, Transport researchers, Trailer Manufacturers, Forest Owners, Legislators and Enforcement agencies. They have created a series of resources for mental and physical health.

Fit for the road - Logtruck

The Forestry Industry Contractors Association

FICA works to promote business growth and improve safety and efficiency among forestry contractors. They have also created a series of videos “Stay well while you stay home” to provide assistance and mental health support.

"Stay well while you stay home" - FICA

Support for growers

Horticulture NZ 

Horticulture NZ has provided a contact list of people who can help and provide support to all growers affected by Covid-19. If you have any questions or concerns that fall into their area of expertise or responsibility you can contact them via email or phone.

Contact list - Horticulture NZ

Call 0508 467 869

New Zealand Apples and Pears

New Zealand Apples and Pears can provide resources and guidance on issues within the sector.

Call 06 873 7080

New Zealand Wine Growers Association 

The New Zealand Winegrowers Association has created a COVID-19 Wine Industry Response Team. You can find all the latest information, resources, data and insight from their response team on their website.

New Zealand Wine Growers Association

NZ Avocado

NZ Avocado have a page dedicated to updates to the avocado industry during Covid-19.

NZ Avocado

Last reviewed: