This technical bulletin provides a summary of the central government support currently available to charities and other for-purpose organisations during COVID-19. The brief includes the support announced in the 2020 Budget as well as the post budget announcement for - (1) sport and recreation, and (2) arts and heritage.

Charities and other for-purpose organisations are vital to the quality of life in New Zealand and they represent 5.3% of the country’s GDP and employ a similar proportion of the population (JBWere Cause Report)

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a unique and unpredictable risk for the New Zealand economy and society as a whole, with the New Zealand for-purpose sector at one of the fault lines in navigating this challenge.

The ‘Rebuilding Together’ Budget 2020 focusses on maintaining critical support for existing public services and supporting key infrastructure investments. Many of the new initiatives are focused on jobs and training.

For the for-purpose sector the Budget provided some emergency relief in additional funding for disability support services, for family and violence services, and for community food providers. Additional funds were set aside for non-government organisations (NGO) working with Māori, Pacific, new migrant and former refugee communities. There are also new opportunities in social procurement for eligible community organisations. 

However, there is concern as to whether this is enough to support community-led recovery and development. Particularly in light of the social sector funding gap that was independently identified last year to be $630 million annually (refer Philanthropy NZ co-authored letter to Government of 1 May 2020, and Social Service Provider Aotearoa follow up). This gap already was threatening the sustainability and effectiveness of our NGO social services and COVID-19 stresses the urgency to address this.

The amount of fiscal stimulus announced in Budget 2020 is large and is rightly in support of the economy through this significant period of disruption. Around $20 billion of the Budget package still remains unallocated and the opportunity remains for the Government to provide more targeted relief in supporting the structural and capability issues of the NGO and Iwi/Māori social service sector.

For now, we trust this technical bulletin assists for-purpose organisations to make the best use of the Government support packages that are currently available to them. 

If you would like further information or have questions, please contact your JBWere adviser or John Morrow on

You can view the full JBWere NZ For-Purpose Covid-19 Technical Bulletin here