Council is committed to helping Masterton recover from the effects of COVID-19 and emerging in the best possible shape. We’ve taken some immediate measures to ease some of the strain but this is just the start, in the background we are working on a larger list of longer-term efforts to support the community and businesses.
Some of the things we have done include:
- Removing rates penalties for the May and August rates instalments, and the 10% penalty on outstanding rates as at 30 June 2020
- Free parking in the Town Centre, with P120 restricted time limits, until the end of August
- Suspending library charges and removing fines
- Extending time to act on building consents
- Up to 100% rent relief on Council property for community groups, individuals and businesses that have experienced hardship for up to 12 months
- No rent increases on Council property
- 100% subsidy on consenting fees for woodburner replacements
We’re also focused on continuing key projects and bringing forward construction-related work so we can help keep people employed and create more jobs in our community.
You might have heard that some Councils are looking at keeping rates flat this year, meaning you won’t pay any more this year than you did last year. We are looking to reduce the increase we initially planned, but we need to make sure these changes are sustainable and won’t just result in a bigger increase next year.
Help with Money
If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced you may be able to get a benefit or some other financial help from Work and Income.
Work and Income can help with urgent costs like:
- accommodation costs (rent, mortgage, board, emergency housing)
- repairs or replacing appliances
- emergency dental treatment
- emergency medical treatment
- water tank refill.
Work and Income call centres are experiencing very high demand at the moment, so we recommend you check the website first. If you don’t have access to the internet you can call Work and Income on 0800 559 009.
Guidance for those under financial stress
If you are worried about your ability to finance existing loans as a result of COVID-19 you should contact your bank or finance company as soon as you can. Banks and other lenders will work with customers who are struggling financially. Borrowers have a legal right to ask for changes to their repayments. A range of options are available to help.
The government-funded services Sorted and MoneyTalks can help with budgeting or other financial guidance. Sorted can help with offers tips, guides and tools support online or you can email them at [email protected].
Protection for renters and tenants
If you are renting and are struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible for support to help you stay in your rental property. Help could include a 6-month freeze on residential rent increases and increased protection from having your tenancy ended.
It is important tenants do not face the prospect of homelessness during this challenging time. This will also enable families and individuals to self-isolate, to stay home and maintain physical distancing, and support everyone’s public health.
Mortgage repayment deferral scheme
New Zealand’s retail banks are offering to defer repayments for all residential mortgages for up to 6 months for customers financially affected by COVID-19.
If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you will not need to make principal and interest payments on your loan for up to 6 months. This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.
Key details of this scheme:
It is important to know that interest on these loans will still increase, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan. Banks will assess the suitability for each customer who is asking for a deferral. Banks will have different approaches to how they manage the process for customers to opt into a mortgage deferral. Those details, including eligibility criteria, will be available on bank websites. Customers should contact their bank for further details or queries about the scheme.
It’s completely normal to be feeling anxious at the moment. This is a stressful time and taking care of our mental health and wellbeing is really important. Take some time to check in with yourself and check out these great free tools that are available to all New Zealanders.
If you feel you’re not coping, it’s important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand has a page with top tips for getting through.
All Right? has lots of resources specifc to COVID-19.
Just a Thought has a free online course with practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption of day-to-day life during COVID-19.
Created by Sir John Kirwan, Mentemia is an app that coaches mental wellbeing.
For Young People
For Rural People
The Rural Support Trust is available for free, confidential chats. Call them on 0800 787 254, follow them on Facebook or fill out a contact form. They have also created a great document called ‘Feeling Down on the Farm’ it has lots of stories from local farmers about how they’ve dealt with stress, anxiety and depression.
Farmstrong has tools to help you work on your mental and physical wellbeing.
Join the ‘Whatever with Wiggy’ Facebook group and have a digital catch up with other rural people around the country.
Sparklers has tools and activities to help you talk to kids about managing emotions.
For our Maori Community
Te Hauora Runanga O Wairarapa are an essential service and are still operating remotely, you can access counselling, addiction and crisis services over the phone on 0800 666 744.
For our Pasifika Community
Aunty Dee is a free online tool to help you work through problems.
Official Sources of Information
If you can’t get essentials like food or medicine and don’t have a family member or friend that can help, you can call the Wairarapa COVID-19 Helpline on 0800 239 247.
Latest updates: govt.nz/latest-updates
Frequently asked questions: govt.nz/#faqs
Welfare help and support: covid19.govt.nz/assets/resources/Easy-read-resources/COVID-19-Large-print-Welfare-factsheet.pdf
Looking after others: govt.nz/how-were-uniting/looking-after-others
Financial support: govt.nz/government-actions/financial-support
Community groups and volunteers: covid19.govt.nz/communities/groups/volunteering/
List of essential businesses: govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses
Public transport: org.nz/our-metlink-journey/covid-19-important-information
Ministry of Health: health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
Ministry of Education: education.govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-3/
Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office WREMO: wremo.nz
Government Unite Against COVID-19 Facebook page: facebook.com/UniteAgainstCovid19
Wairarapa COVID-19 Updates page: facebook.com/COVID19Wairarapa