COVID-19 Welfare Services

This page lists key information and resources that you may find helpful during this time. You can do your part by checking in on neighbours, friends and family and letting them know about services available too.

Jump to:

Accessing heath services
Mental health
Rural welfare
Financial welfare
Helping others
Animal welfare

Accessing health services

During lockdown, you are still able to receive medical assistance for any health issues including prescriptions, however you must phone your doctor or the hospital first. Where possible, they will assist you over the phone or via video call, or will direct you as to the protocol if you need in-person assistance. Pharmacies are open, however it is best to call ahead of pick up.  
Emergency services will always be available for urgent assistance on 111. 
If you concerned about any COVID-19 symptoms you are experiencing, call Healthline 0800 358 5453 or your doctor. Do not drive to your GP clinic in the first instance.  

Mental Health

It’s normal to feel distressed in uncertain times, but if you feel you are not coping it is important to seek help. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text ‘Need to talk?’ on 1737. This service is free, available 24/7 and gives you the chance to talk with a qualified counsellor.  

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand has also set up "Getting through together" on their website, a place to find resources to help you with anxiety,  staying connected and looking out for each other. 

Rural welfare

If you need help with counselling services, farming or business advices, connecting to suppliers, or financial information, Rural Support Trusts provides a confidential and free service over the phone or via Zoom/Skype. Call 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) or visit the website for more information. 

If you are experiencing a strain on feed resources, remote feed planning support is now available. This is a free service that includes an assessment of feed planning needs and professional farm system advice. More in depth support is available, however this may cost. 

To access the service, call the relevant number below:  

  • Dry stock sector Beef + Lamb New Zealand: 0800BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352).  
  • Dairy sector DairyNZ:  0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 3247969).  
  • AgFirst:  0508 AGFIRST (0508 243 477). 

Financial welfare

If you are concerned about your financial welfare, Work and Income are delivering services over the phone and online. You can contact them on 0800 559 009 or find out more on their website. Here are a few specific ways you can get help from Work and Income:
  • If you are struggling to pay for a power, gas or water bill and your provider is unable to create a payment schedule for you, you may be eligible for assistance. 
  • If you are already on one of the eligible benefits, you will automatically recieve the Winter Energy Payment – an extra payment to help with the cost of heating your home over the winter months. The Government has doubled this payment in response to Covid-19 for the 2020 winter.  
In addition to increase support for our most vulnerable, the Government’s $16.1 billion package to support New Zealanders includes:  
  • increased funding for the heath and aviation sectors 
  • a wage subsidy scheme for affected businesses in all sectors and regions 
  • essential workers leave scheme and self-isolation support 
  • business cash flow and tax measures 
  • residential rent increase freeze and mortgage repayment holiday scheme  
  • business finance guarantee scheme 
  • support for Māori communities and businesses 
For consumer information during New Zealand's COVID-19 Alert Level 4, including financial difficulties, delivery delays, urgent repairs, and cancelled travel or events visit here. 

Helping others

We appreciate that at times like these many want to help others, however it’s important to remember that the best thing we can all do to help others is to stay home. Delivery of food and other essential items is best left to organisations Red Cross and The Salvation Army. If you would like to assist these organisations, we recommend contacting your city or district council who can put you in contact with organisations in your area. 
We encourage people to reach out to others in their community in safe ways, such as by phone or email. If you are worried about someone, contact the welfare Freephone number 0800 725 678 for some advice. 

Animal welfare

Veterinary and animal health/welfare services are essential services. If you need veterinary service for your pet or livestock, you will be able to get help, however the clinics are closed to the public and you must call or email. From there, they can either provide advice over the phone or if required, arrange a visit to the clinic. 
Travel to look after animals is allowed. Just remember to take the necessary precautions you would for any other essential trip -  maintain distance from others, and wash your hands regularly.  
You are still able to walk your dog during this time, however stick to routes close to home, keep your dog on lead, avoid busy places to ensure your 2-metre distance from others, and don’t let other people pat your dog.  
The SPCA is still open for issues of animal welfare. If you are concerned for an animal’s welfare, phone the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 008 333 or contact your local SPCA.