New Zealand extends timetable for interest-free business loans

SYDNEY • New Zealand’s government will again extend an interest-free loan programme for small businesses as part of its economic stimulus as the country charts a post-coronavirus economic recovery, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech yesterday.

The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme, which the government already extended once to late July, will now be available until the end of the year, the Labour leader told her party’s annual congress.

The extension adds to a suite of measures following the complete isolation of the island nation from March 19, which enabled it to become one of the first countries to eliminate community transmission of the coronavirus.

Some 90,485 small businesses have applied through the loans programme for more than NZ$1.51 billion (RM4.23 billion) since May 12, the country’s Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash said in a separate statement, with the average value of each loan so far has been about NZ$16,700. — Bloomberg