However, cooperatives - Fonterra and Tatua - opted not to take the wage subsidy. With dairy processors given the green light to operate through the lockdowns, these farmer-owned co-operatives rightly felt it wasn’t fair to dip into the subsidy.
The Government’s subsidy scheme was designed to provide cash to employers who experienced a revenue drop due to Covid-19, so they could continue paying staff wages. It’s paid out $14 billion, and at its peak it supported 1.8 million jobs.
Following mounting public pressure to act within the spirit of the scheme, Briscoe Group said it would be paying back its $11.5m subsidy. As of the week ending October 9 nearly $500m has been paid back in 16,293 refunds.