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Wage Subsidy Business Survey Findings

A survey of businesses receiving the Government Wage Subsidy has been run to understand the impact of COVID-19 and the Wage Subsidy scheme on businesses. The information collected will be used to inform decisions about future policy development and decisions.

The survey asked 13 questions on the following topics:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on businesses
  • the efficacy of the wage subsidy
  • awareness and uptake of the supports and services available to them through government
  • likely future support needs.

In addition, it collected the following business demographic information:

  • Industry
  • Region
  • Number of employees
  • Financial turnover
  • Revenue from tourism, and
  • Whether the business identifies as a Māori or Pacific business

79 per cent of respondents said they benefited a lot from the wage subsidy. 89 per cent said it meant they would be able to keep operating for the foreseeable future.

All business who had received the Wage Subsidy up until 15 May 2020 were invited to participate in the survey. Over 90,000 businesses completed the survey.

The response rate was 25 percent, i.e. 25 percent of businesses who were emailed a survey invitation completed a questionnaire. Ipsos, the independent market research company the Ministry commissioned to manage the survey, have informed us that for New Zealand research industry standards this is a high response rate for an online business survey.

New Zealand businesses are dominated by small businesses. Over half (54 percent) of all businesses that received a Wage Subsidy had no employees (sole traders) and a further 44 percent had between one and 19 employee(s). The survey respondents are representative of this demographic in that over 90 percent have less than 20 employees.

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