February 14, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

The business events industry in New Zealand had a big win over the weekend after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment expanded a scheme launched in November 2021 to support major events to also cover business events taking place from April 4, 2022 to January 31, 2023.

The Events Transition Support Payment scheme will now see organisers of business events with 200 or more attendees able to recover 90 percent of event costs if their event has to be cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Organisers who wish to claim for events up until the start of July 2022 must have had their event in market prior to the Government’s January 23 announcement that the whole of New Zealand would move to the red traffic light setting, which limits events to a maximum of 100 attendees. For events scheduled to take place from July 1 onwards, the event must have been in-market for at least four months or be an established annual event.

Peak industry association Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) applauded Saturday’s announcement.

“We are overjoyed [Economic and Regional Development] Minister Nash and his team have acknowledged the key role business events will have in New Zealand’s recovery,” said BEIA Chief Executive Lisa Hopkins.

“When a business event is held, it not only brings much-needed contribution to the tourism and hospitality sectors, but also impacts positively on the community. It supports a highly skilled and dedicated supply chain, who have really felt the impact of restrictions over the past couple of years.”

Another addition to the scheme on Saturday was to cover events cancelled due to the key talent or subject of the event was subject to a COVID-19 isolation direction from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

With Omicron now driving community transmission in New Zealand, cases soared over the weekend, with new cases almost doubling from Saturday to Sunday, when 810 new local cases were reported. Daily case numbers rose again today, with 981 new cases identified.