Support for whānau and families

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact whānau, families and communities.  Here is some information on how you can get help if you need it.  

Health

  • Call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice about getting tested. In case of an emergency, dial 111. 
  • The Ministry of Health has issued specific advice for people at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Keep yourself and loved ones safe and healthy by reducing the spread of the virus. Consider making alternate arrangements with your employer if you feel unsafe in your workplace. Pregnant women in their third trimester should consider alternate working arrangements to keep themselves and their baby safe. 
  • The Ministry of Health provides COVID-19 advice for pregnant women. The New Zealand College of Midwives has put together further information and resources for women giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic

Focus on mental wellbeing

  • Mental health and wellbeing is critical during a pandemic.  Here is some more information:
  • Dr Michelle Dickson and PM Jacinda Ardern chat about the coronavirus in a new video, How to explain coronavirus to kids.
  • The Ministry of Health has also issued COVID-19 advice and information specific to disabled people and for the deaf community
  • New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation has plenty of wellbeing tips available to help families get through. 
  • If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse in your home, please contact one of the organisations listed on this section of our website (LINK to abuse & violence page). Call 111 in an emergency, if it is unsafe for you to speak then press 55 to contact police for help. 

Contact Arrangements 

  • Keeping a routine can help your children feel safe and secure during these uncertain times. Try to maintain the routine that you have in place for your children when it comes to where they live and how they spend time with both parents. Support your children to keep in touch with other family members through telephone calling, or video chatting via Skype and Facetime. 
  • If there are any problems, try and talk through the issues with your former partner or their family.  If necessary, talk to Community Law about how any issues might be resolved.  
  • Shared and extended bubbles are permitted within communities even at Alert Level 4 to allow for families with shared childcare and custody arrangements. The Ministry of Justice continues to issue updated guidance for managing shared parenting during COVID-19 alert levels

Financial support

  • Work and Income service centres are open for clients with appointments. You are allowed to bring whānau, your kids, or a support person if you need to. To make an appointment, call 0800 559 009. 
  • They are encouraging clients to contact them by phone or online via MyMSD. Benefits have increased by $25 per week and Winter Energy payments have doubled for 2020 until the 1st October. 
  • Work and Income has removed the stand-down period following a successful application, so that you can begin to receive payments immediately. For more information, you can read Work and Income’s response to COVID-19 or learn more about their help for individuals

Money, rent, and food 

  • If you can’t pay for food, you may be able to get help from a food bank
  • If you can’t pay for rent, Work and Income may be able to help pay for living expenses. Landlords cannot increase rent until 26 September 2020. Note that after 12 August 2020, rent cannot be increased for 12 months following the beginning of a new tenancy or the last rent increase. Inland Revenue also has information about COVID-19 support for families