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.
If you prefer to talk to someone else, the COVID-19 website has some resources to help.
Supporting your business through crisis and change
It’s important to remember that there are many agencies that can help to prepare and support your business through challenging times, and help it to grow.
We have listed some organisations that can offer business support and advice. This may be financial advice to help you make key decisions about your future, or essential business skills that could lead to improvement in your current practices, or allow you to grow or transform your business for the future.
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.
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.
Inland Revenue has information for businesses that are making a loss, including how you can use a loss to reduce future taxable income.
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.
Work & Income General Enquiries: 0800 559 009
Te Puni Kokiri
Te Puni Kōkiri has information to support Māori primary sector businesses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Support for individual sectors
We know it’s helpful to talk to others who understand your business and the stresses it can bring. Before making significant decisions that will affect your business, here are some organisations that have people that can help.
The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty has shared practical advice on caring for pets during the pandemic, and is posting regularly on Facebook.
Ministry of Social Development (MSD)
Financial support may be available to people who need help with living expenses or urgent or unexpected costs, including pet food and vet care.
Managing through tough times
This leaflet has practical advice and information to help rural people manage their financial and mental wellbeing and let them know where to find help.
Download the leaflet [PDF, 1.5 MB]
Regional civil defence groups
Civil Defence Emergency Management Agencies must consider animal welfare needs in their planning. Each region has an animal welfare co-ordinator. Animal owners can request help by phoning their nearest group. The call is free.
Welfare agencies available during the pandemic
This list of welfare agencies is a good resource for volunteers working in animal welfare charities and organisations. It also contains phone numbers for the regional Civil Defence Emergency Management Agencies mentioned above.
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)
A nationwide wellbeing programme for the rural community.
New Zealand’s independent rural advocacy organisation has much information on support for farming in the COVID-19 environment.
Call 0800 327 646
Your vet is often a friend or trusted advisor to your business. Seek their advice.
Rural Women New Zealand
Call 0800 256 467
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
Beef+Lamb New Zealand -
Beef+Lamb New Zealand COVID-19 support information for sheep and beef farmers.
Call 0800 733 466
Deer Industry New Zealand
This deer industry body has sector-specific information in COVID-19.
Call 04 4734500
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.
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.
Find out about some regional and national services that can give help and advice with health, well-being, and making business decisions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NZ Avocado have a page dedicated to updates to the avocado industry during Covid-19.