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Government must extend wage subsidy deadline

New revelations that the Work and Income website only published the deadline for the first round of the wage subsidy two and a half days before it closed reinforce the need for that deadline to be extended, National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Applications opened on 20 August 2021, the Government could’ve informed New Zealanders of the exact deadline then. It beggars belief the Government didn’t think to put the deadline on a website many Kiwis went to for information about the wage subsidy earlier.

“For this reason alone the Government must extend the application deadline for the first fortnight all of New Zealand was in lockdown. I have written to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni requesting an extension.

“The fact applications mistakenly closed early on 2 September 2021 before the 11.59pm deadline demonstrates the Government failed to undertake sufficient due diligence with its new fortnightly application process.

“The further problem with online applications on 3 September 2021 are blamed on high application volumes. The Government, for unbeknown reasons, always planned a time period between rounds one and two when applications could not be lodged.

“The Government must make amends for their incompetence and botched communications.

“Many New Zealand businesses and their employees have been left stressed given the uncertainty these bungles have caused.

“National has provided a constructive solution and I look forward to the Government’s response to our request.”

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