Press Releases, COVID-19

Covid-19 CID update April 6

Posted on 06 April 2020

Resources and News

  • Cyclone Harold strengthened to a Category 5

    Tropical Cyclone Harold strengthened to a Category 5 storm overnight and is currently located 70km west of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. It is moving east at approximately 11km/hr and maximum sustained winds near the centre could reach up to 260km/hr. TC Harold is expected to approach and move over southern Espiritu Santo and the city of Luganville (Vanuatu’s second-largest city with a population of 16,000) this afternoon and evening before continuing east. Heavy rains and flooding already reported in the northern islands of Vanuatu, some people have been forced to flee their villages for higher ground, while others shelter in place. The Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) is coordinating response efforts with local NGOs, and has today commenced the distribution of pre-positioned supplies, while some Provincial Disaster Office continue to conduct damage assessments across affected areas. It is probable that World Vision NZ will be requested to release of their MFAT-funded pre-positioned supplies as further damage assessments are conducted. TC Harold is also presenting the challenge of how to respond to two over-lapping emergency responses; Covid-19 and now TC Harold. A State of Emergency was declared by Vanuatu's President on 26th March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government of Vanuatu has relaxed the COVID-19 social distancing directives and evacuation centres are open across impacted provinces and affected communities are sheltering in place. Still to be confirmed, but Vanuatu authorities may reduce border restrictions on personnel entering Vanuatu, however, some form of pre-emptive medical clearance/ health-check would remain.

     The CID Humanitarian Network is meeting at 2:00pm today to share information and decide on next steps for coordination.
  • An incredibly rich Resource List: Communicating about Covid-19, reported by Aidnography
  • First-ever CID Webinar coming up soon! ParryField Lawyers, Steven Moe and Kris Morrison will answer all your COVID-19 legal questions. Check the details here.
  • Devex has created an interactive analysis of funding data on Covid-19 announced so far in 2020 and their geographic/priority area focus
  • The webinars from the online conference Te Tiriti Based Futures and Anti-Racism 2020, held in March with speakers from Aotearoa and around the world, are now available to all in this time that calls up for strengthening our communities

FAQs from INGOs

Let us know your questions and we will try and find out answers for you. Email questions to

Here is the latest official advice from MSD (with thanks to the MFAT team for their help) 

  • What should staff or New Zealanders do if still in-country?

New Zealanders requesting advice should in the first instance try to contact the respective New Zealand Embassy/High Commission, details are available via this link. Should urgent assistance be required we have a 24/7 consular emergency number: 0800 30 10 30 or +64 99 20 20 20.  We would encourage all New Zealanders based offshore to register on SafeTravel if they have not yet done so already. This will ensure they can receive important consular updates. Updates on border Covid-19 related border restrictions are available via the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.

  • Do INGOs need to enter an NZBN? 

If you’re applying for leave or wage subsidies, INGOs do not have to enter an NZBN (New Zealand Business Number). Please see the note from MFAT (Thanks, Nick!): The NZBN number now no longer a required field – please see the amended application form here.

  • If I’m an employer of a registered charity, incorporated society, non-government organisation, or post-settlement governance entity am I entitled to apply for the wage subsidy for my employees?

Yes, you can apply for the wage subsidy if your business has been adversely affected as a result of COVID-19 and you are struggling to retain your employees.

  • If I’m an employer of a registered charity, incorporated society, non-government organisation, or post-settlement governance entity am I entitled to apply for the leave payment for my employees?

Yes, you can apply for the leave payment if your employees are required to self-isolate because of Ministry of Health Guidelines and cannot work from home. Employees may not be able to work from home because:

  1. of the nature of their occupation e.g. tradespeople or you cannot provide employees with the ability to work from home e.g. no access to laptops.
  2. they have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  3. they are caring for dependents.
  • Can INGOs be counted as ‘essential services’ so we can continue fundraising and mail outs? 

At the moment this is not clear, but the list of essential services is not fixed and CID will continue to follow up MFAT and others to make the case that INGOs need to fundraise to be in a position to respond in the Pacific. Check the newsletter for updates from MSD. 

  • Are INGOs eligible to access the leave and wage subsidies from the government? 

INGOs can access the leave and sick pay extensions for staff and even contractors – as long as each person is legally employed. All indications are that if INGOs fit the criteria, they can apply for the wage subsidy too (eg they can prove they have lost 30% of revenue compared with the same time last year. Check the CID COVID-19 updates for contacts and links to follow up directly on behalf of your organisation.

Events/Key dates


CID members update - Let us know any updates from your organisation

Good Travel

Good Travel have postponed all of their trips until they know that it is safe and responsible for people to travel again. GOOD Travel was set up because “we care about people and we believe in the power that tourism has to empower people, to inspire people, to connect people and to create new opportunities and livelihoods within communities". They’ll be sharing pictures, stories, articles and more through our #virtualtravel series and hope you’ll join them as they continue to explore and celebrate our world, and as they endeavour to stay connected and positive during this challenging time

Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

The Auckland-based staff at The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ began working from home on 23 March 2020 following PM announcement on 21 March. All Auckland-based were transitioned to working from home as of 26 March. As of 27 March states of emergency have been declared across all countries where we have established presences. Clinical settings have shifted to emergency footing with only the most urgent, sight-threatening conditions being treated. Where possible, senior colleagues are working with our health partners to support their planning and preparations for addressing COVID-19 in their countries. While clinical staff are on emergency rosters, our managerial, administration, programme and support staff, and this includes all staff in Auckland, are complying with the emergency directives of host countries and currently working from home. We expect to continue with this practice over the month of April until we can better understand the longer-term in relation to the COVID-19 emergency.


Staff are working well from home and are well connected to receive any queries and/or communications by email at / Except for on-the-ground tasks in the Pacific, all other work is almost functioning as usual, but remotely.  Their priority right now is ensuring staff remain safe and their well-being is well addressed, to priorities activities that they can prosecute ourselves such as strengthening licensees and linking with Fairtrade International to track impacts on producers and sales.

Global Development Group

Global Development Group has temporarily ceased all non-essential travel – both international and domestic – and all our project administrators and volunteers have cancelled their trips, returned home, or are in the process of returning home to then enjoy two weeks of self-isolation ‘holidays’. Our volunteer staff are continuing to work from home, with connectivity through normal work email, and with back office support from our Australian office. 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat have developed contingency plans, devised systems that will allow our staff to work from home, and halted all overseas travel arrangements for now. “We have made the difficult decision to cancel all Global Village builds until June and continue to support our regional offices with information and resources,” says CEO Alan Thorpe.


VSA has temporarily paused all overseas programmes and is in the process of bringing all volunteers back to NZ. Most have now returned and are being placed in self-isolation. A full working from home trial was undertaken, and the Wellington office is moving to reduced staffing from next week with a number of staff working remotely. All have connectivity through normal work e-mail.


Hagar staff will be working from home after this week, and programmes have changed to cease person to person contact, and shift to phone and social media contact. 


The Tearfund team will prepare from this Monday to Wednesday to close the office from Thursday 26 March and staff will work from home. “We will spend the next three day preparing to run all Tearfund’s services to supporters largely without the office from Thursday,” says CEO Ian McInnes


Everyone is now working from home and our offices are closed.  "We are working on how we can support social enterprises to be resilient at this time and looking at how we can pivot our immediate priorities towards solutions that keep New Zealand's growing social & community enterprise sector strong,” says CEO Louise Aitkin.


Staff are working from home now.


Cancelled their twice-yearly National Council face to face meeting over this weekend, but held it very successfully on Google Hangouts with 23 attendees from Prague to Christchurch. The office is closed and President Peter Nichols is working remotely from home.

Save the Children

The Save the Children team tested working from home on Friday and will work from home until further notice. "My main goal is to keep staff safe, support our donors in this time, and provide resources for parents (and government) through our website,” says CEO Heidi Coetzee.


Most of the Childfund team are now working from home and by tomorrow the physical office will be closed until further notice. Staff will work from home, and remain in close contact with their partners, in particular their team in Kiribati, and they are preparing for any response in Tarawa.“We’re striving to maintain business as usual. It’s important we remain flexible and resilient including supporting our people (partners, staff, donors, communities) as much as we can.  Our purpose and mission are unchanged.  Our compassion for each other will get us through this uncertain time,” says CEO Paul Brown.


CBM will trial 2 days this week of staff working from home (with some compulsory due to recent travel or medical preconditions). Aim to have no more than 25% of staff present at any one time. The office is not closing. Calls will be redirected to staff phones. Priorities are (1) Staying on top of Covid-19 preparedness (2) finishing submissions for Manaaki and starting other projects (3) fundraising and major donor work before the end of FY.


WWF will be closing their office at the end of today, and all working for home thereafter. Luckily they had instigated a trial 'work from home Fridays' since November last year, with the following platforms up and running to communicate with each other: Zoom, Slack, Asana. From now on they will have a 15 minute morning check-in meeting at 9 am for the whole organisation. And also set up fun Zoom sessions around lunchtimes, eg what to cook, how to play the guitar, meditate or filet a fish!


Counselling Services

Family and Community Services National Directory: 0800 211 211 (This helpline will transfer you to other appropriate services) 
: Call: 0800 376 633 Text: 234 Email:
Or webchat at (webchat available 7pm – 11pm)
The Low Down (support for young people experiencing depression or anxiety) or Text 5626
Lifeline 24/7 Helpline: 0800 543 354
Mental health Crisis team: 0800 754 477
Need to talk: Free call/ TXT – 1737
Samaritans: 0800 726 666
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 or TXT 4202. Email:
Kidsline: 0800543754
Parent help: 0800 568 856