Wednesday, 04 November 2020 09:50

Pay back the money

Written by  Milking It

OPINION: Some of the biggest companies in the world have claimed millions of dollars in Covid-19 wage subsidies for their New Zealand operations, with some going on to pay huge dividends to investors.

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. 

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