COVID-19 information

Find out about the Government’s relief measures for companies and other entities, and what the Companies Office is doing to help those affected by COVID-19.

Last updated 8 September 2021

On this page:


Business Debt Hibernation

This measure is available until 31 October 2021

Business Debt Hibernation (BDH) was introduced by the Government in 2020 to support businesses affected by COVID-19.

If you have an eligible business that has been disrupted by COVID-19, you can get a month’s protection while you talk to your creditors. During this period, most creditors will not be able to take legal action to enforce their debts, for example, by applying to have your business liquidated. If your creditors agree, you can get a further 6 months’ protection.

Eligible business types or entities include:

  • charitable trusts
  • companies (NZ and overseas)
  • friendly societies
  • incorporated societies
  • industrial and provident societies
  • limited partnerships (NZ and overseas).
Learn more about Business Debt Hibernation

Operating during Alert Levels 2 to 4

During COVID Alert Levels 2 to 4 there are restrictions on gatherings, and a need for physical distancing.

Visit business.govt.nz for guidance about workplace activities at different alert levels

Unite against COVID-19 also has information on gatherings and physical distancing at the different alert levels

Holding meetings

During COVID Alert Levels 2 to 4, the need for physical distancing may require you to change the way you hold meetings, including your annual general meeting (AGM), or even to cancel some meetings.

You may need to make changes to your constitution or rules, especially around using electronic means such as online meeting platforms.

Updating incorporated society rules for holding meetings

If you’re an incorporated society and you need to make significant changes to your rules, you may wish to use our Constitution Builder  — a ‘do-it-yourself’ online tool.

Meetings with retirement village residents

During COVID-19 Alert Levels 2 - 4 all operators and statutory supervisors of registered retirement villages are recommended to follow the practice note released 9 April 2020 when holding meetings with residents. Read the practice note for meetings [PDF, 199 KB]

If your society needs more time to file its financial statements

COVID-19 restrictions may mean you can’t file your annual financial statements on time. If so, you can request an extension to your filing deadline.

Statutory declarations made remotely

In response to the need for physical distancing during COVID Alert Levels 2 to 4, the Companies Office will accept statutory declarations that meet the requirements of the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 but are taken by alternative means. This provision continues until further notice.

COVID-19 information for businesses

Business.govt.nz is the government’s central resource for COVID-19 business information with updates about COVID-19 and guidance to help businesses. You’ll find information about:

  • operating at alert levels
  • business travel across regional boundaries
  • contact tracing
  • financial support for businesses
  • employment and work visas
  • leases and tenancies
  • exporters and importers
  • working from home.

Please refer to the Ministry of Health for health-related information and covid19.govt.nz for all other information from government.

Expired provisions

Temporary legislation from 2020 introduced a number of other measures for companies and other entities. The following provisions have now expired.

  • Safe harbour for company directors – expired 30 September 2020
  • Enabling the use of electronic means when an entity’s constitution or rules wouldn't normally permit this – expired 31 March 2021
  • Allowing modifications to constitutions or rules – expired 31 March 2021
  • Exemptions from compliance obligations (such as calling or holding meetings and auditing, assurance, or financial reporting or review requirements) – expired 31 March 2021
  • Allowing electronic signatures under the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 – expired 15 May 2021.