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Financial help available for those affected by the earthquake

The Government has introduced a number of emergency assistance packages that are available to anyone who needs them. You may be eligible for several different types of assistance.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs’ telephone interpreting service, Language Line is available when ringing any of the numbers below. Ask for Language Line and the language you need.

Help from Work and Income

You don’t need to be on a benefit to get help from Work and Income. If you're not sure what you should apply for first, phone the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997, or drop into a Recovery Assistance Centre or a Work and Income office.

Civil Defence payments

Civil Defence payments are available to meet the immediate needs of people who are affected by a civil defence emergency. Payments can cover accommodation costs for evacuees, payments to hosts for billeting evacuees, loss of livelihood for people who cannot work, as well as food, clothing and/or bedding.

To find out about payments, call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997.

Earthquake Employment Support Package

This is a package designed to give to help Christchurch businesses and their employees. It is made up of two options.

Earthquake Support Subsidy for Employers

This is a payment for employers to assist them to pay their employees while they deal with the impact of the quake. The subsidy is also available to the self-employed or business owners who draw a wage.

Earthquake Job Loss Cover for Employees

This is a payment for employees where their employer has decided not to continue their business and employees are no longer able to work and/or receive a wage. Employees should talk to their employer first to see whether you still have a job and can be paid. If you can’t contact them and you are not working or being paid, then you can apply for the Earthquake Job Loss Cover payment.

How to apply?

Applying online at Work and Income is the best way to receive this payment. Employers enter details of the staff you want the subsidy for (employee names, date of birth and IRD number), plus your IRD number, your business bank account number and contact details. Employees enter your name, date of birth, IRD number, bank account and contact details.

Other financial assistance

Inland Revenue Earthquake Response information

Visit Inland Revenue for information about tax, Working for Families Tax Credits, Child Support, KiwiSaver or Student Loans. Contact us using secure webmail or phone the helpline 0800 473 566 ACC

If you have been injured as a result of the Christchurch earthquake and need treatment, please go to your doctor, a hospital or a health provider.

If you require further assistance from ACC as a result of your injury please call ACC on 0800 101 996.

If someone in your family has died as a result of an earthquake-related injury, ACC may be able to help cover your financial needs. We have specialist staff available to talk to you. Please call 0800 222 075 or visit ACC

For more information visit

Further ACC assistance

Funeral Grant

This may be used for burial, cremation, and related ceremonies. It can also cover memorial costs if the body is not recovered. It can be used to contribute towards transporting the bodies back to their homelands.

Survivor’s Grant

A survivor’s grant is a one-off payment to the partner, children, including an unborn child, and other dependants of someone whose death was the result of an injury. Another dependant is anyone who is financially dependant because of a mental or physical disability on the person who died.


Childcare payments can be made to the caregiver of the children, for up to five years or until the child turns 14. Only children living in New Zealand are eligible for childcare payments.

Weekly Compensation

If the person who has died was an earner (paying Income Tax and ACC levies in New Zealand), weekly compensation may be paid to the spouse and dependant children based on a percentage of earnings. Weekly compensation is payable to the spouse for the later of either 5 years, or until the youngest child in their care turns 18.

Help finding accommodation

If you need assistance finding emergency temporary accommodation call 0800 HELP 00 (0800 435 700). Property owners or households with accommodation to offer can also call this number. For more information go to Housing New Zealand tenants who want to report damage to their home or whose home is no longer liveable, we will find another state house for you. Call us any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 801 601.

For more information and help visit:

the Ministry of Social Development’s website or

ring the Government’s helpline 0800 779 997