advice to New Zealand exporters

Click the headings below for advice on minimising COVID-19 disruption for your export business. You can also visit myNZTE, our free online portal offering curated, in-depth information and guidance to help you navigate your export and capital raising journeys.

Leading people & wellbeing

Make the safety and wellbeing of staff your immediate priority, and ensure you make use of available support from Government if required.

Be proactive, keep up regular communication with staff, and ensure they are safe, healthy and supported.

New Zealand is currently at COVID-19 Alert Level 1. Please click here for the latest resources for doing business at this alert level.

Check in with your local business partners to see how they are doing and how you might be able to support them during this time.

Our useful tools section includes a Business Continuity Plan template to help you manage your people and keep them safe.

Supporting contract tracing

As of Wednesday 19 August, all New Zealand businesses must display a NZ COVID Tracer QR code at their premises, either at main entrances or in a prominent place. This helps customers and visitors to keep track of where they’ve been – allowing for faster contract tracing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces or in the community. Find more information and create your own QR code poster here.


New Zealand mental health and services provider Umbrella offers a range of downloadable articles aimed at helping support mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis. Access them here.

You can also check out the website for further wellbeing tips and tools, including:

WorkSafe - how are you adapting to COVID-19?

Our colleagues at WorkSafe have created a platform (#BetterWorkNZ) for businesses and workers to share, collaborate and connect on a wide range of challenges or opportunities facing them as a result of COVID-19. The goal is to help New Zealand businesses realise more of their potential and to create the best workplace possible.

Check it out and join the conversation here.

Cash flow

Now is a good time to re-examine the demand assumptions that drive your revenue lines – not just demand from your customers, but from customers' customers, as well as all your associated cost assumptions.

Even if you don't see any direct exposure, there is likely to be an indirect effect on sales. Aim to reserve cash flow immediately to give you more options down the track.

Look closely at your forecast working capital position over the next six months and consider what adjustments you need to make. Keep a close eye on current assets such as debtors, monitor your current ratio, and stay in touch with any key creditors.

Start conversations early with your banks and financiers to keep them updated and see what support is available. Make sure you're top of mind for your existing shareholders and equity funders. Think about what they're looking for and how you can deliver the outcomes they are seeking.

Consider your solvency position, now and in six months. What options do you have available to improve your position or make smarter use of assets? What other funding sources, or methods of extending existing funding, could you draw upon?

To help support New Zealand exporters, NZTE has produced a suite of cashflow tools and templates, and we are also holding 1:1 cash flow clinics. To find out more, please visit our Cashflow: tools, templates and clinics page.

You'll also find more useful tools and resources on cash flow at myNZTE - our free online portal offering curated, in-depth information and guidance to help you navigate your export and capital raising journeys.

International travel

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) advises all New Zealanders not to travel overseas at this time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions. See the latest SafeTravel COVID-19 updates here.

Wherever possible, you should pause or reschedule international travel for yourself and your staff, and replace scheduled trips or meetings with virtual meetings or videoconferencing.

Many international borders are now closed or apply strict health or quarantine requirements for travellers. In some cases previously approved visas may not be valid for entry.

Airlines worldwide are pausing or reducing scheduled flights, meaning you may find it difficult to travel to or within markets. You may be at risk of being stranded overseas if your return flights are disrupted.

If you get sick or injured while travelling, pressure on healthcare systems from COVID-19 may prevent you from getting the level of care you'd expect in New Zealand, even if you have valid health insurance in place.

If you choose to travel despite these risks, make sure you're familiar with the latest SafeTravel advice for your destination, and register your travel on the SafeTravel website.

Returning to New Zealand

New Zealand's borders are currently closed to almost all travellers. Only New Zealand citizens, New Zealand residents with valid travel conditions, and visitors with specific exemptions granted by Immigration New Zealand are able to enter the country.

If you're returning to New Zealand, you must complete at least 14 days of managed isolation or quarantine. You will also be tested for COVID-19 during your stay.

You may be able to get an exemption from managed isolation, but generally only in exceptional circumstances and where the public health risk to New Zealanders is low or can be managed.

The Government recovers some of the costs for managed isolation. This is to share the costs in a way that fairly reflects the benefits of a robust system, both for the New Zealand public and for those leaving and entering the country.

You can find further details on the Managed Isolation and Quarantine website.

Useful links:

Freight & logistics

The current COVID-19 situation has created a lot of uncertainty for our exporters, particularly around air freight capacity and scheduling. The Government has moved quickly to ensure New Zealand has the supplies it needs and to back our exporters by keeping open air channels to key international markets.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is working with Air New Zealand, freight forwarders, exporters and government agencies to support additional charter flights. To deliver this freight capacity, NZTE and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) are assisting Air New Zealand with funding support. Find out more about our air freight support here.

While the Government is not aware of any formal restrictions on market access for goods exports and imports as a result of COVID-19, the pandemic is disrupting trade flows and the wider international economy.

This useful report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) gives a global overview of supply chain issues around the world as of June 2020, including trends in air and sea freight availability.

Proactive and daily communication with your logistic and insurance providers is essential. Maintain close contact with your preferred freight forwarders and shipping lines, as they will be receiving constant updates from their own networks.

You'll also find more useful tools and resources on freight and logistics at myNZTE - our free online portal offering curated, in-depth information and guidance to help you navigate your export and capital raising journeys.

Useful links

There are a number of major shipping, road and air freight companies providing excellent snapshots and updates on the current logistics situation around the world. See the links below:

Managing risk

Take a strategic look at your 2020 plans. Incorporate the latest market condition changes into your 2020 budget, and rebalance costs and activity based on revised revenue forecasts.

You'll need to monitor your supply chain closely, realign your product offerings, commercial organisation, channel partners and marketing approach to respond to changing market conditions - both now and after the epidemic ends.

Keep a close watch for potential opportunities and be ready to move quickly if they present themselves. 

We advise that you: 

  • Map and prioritise key risks to your business  

  • Map potential future scenarios and develop an action plan for each scenario 

  • Update business continuity and emergency plans, and communicate these to employees, customers, suppliers and partners.

You can access a Business Continuity Plan template in our webinars, useful tools and resources section.

McKinsey & Company have put together an excellent resource on how to minimise risks to your company and employees – COVID-19: Implications for Business.


Some insurance providers may not insure for loss, damage or delay to some cargo under the current circumstances. 

We advise that you:  

  • Get in touch proactively with your insurance provider – and stay in touch daily 

  • Review applicable insurance policies 

  • Understand what the impacts of force majeure mean

  • Prepare for potential claims. 

Supply chain

In the short term, business continuity remains the priority. Stay in daily contact with your supply chain and your logistics partners so you're aware of the situation in their businesses and how it might affect you.

Look for any choke points or critical links in your supply chain, and consider the feasibility of sourcing from alternative suppliers to help mitigate the risk of depending on a single source for essential components.

For goods exporters, keep in touch with your freight forwarders or shipping lines, which will be providing regular updates.

This infographic contains an excellent checklist of measures your business can take to help your supply chain resilience.

You'll also find more useful tools and resources on supply chain at myNZTE - our free online portal offering curated, in-depth information and guidance to help you navigate your export and capital raising journeys. 

MFAT Monitoring International Supply Chains

Air freight remains significantly impacted as a result of COVID-19. Countries representing nearly 90% of New Zealand’s 2019 trade are showing slightly or significant reduced air freight operations. Air Freight costs remain elevated.

Sea freight has not been as strongly affected as air freight. Countries representing more than two-thirds of New Zealand’s trade are showing normal sea freight operations.

Further reading

  • This report by Deloitte suggests the steps you and your team can take to get better control and visibility over your supply chain, and prepare for further shutdowns.

  • This McKinsey report suggests how leaders working to repair strained supply chains can take actions that will help them be better prepared for medium and long term disruption.

Staying connected with markets

Maintain regular contact with your importers, distributors and other channel partners in affected countries. This lets you keep up to date on their state of operation, understand any specific challenges they are facing, and offer support during this difficult period.

Your overseas partners will have first-hand insights into how their markets may be changing, including what channels are working and how to manage any logistics or supply chain constraints.

Have open and empathetic dialogue with your partners. Whilst there may be immediate short-term problems to solve, make sure you're also discussing the mid-term outlook for the market to help you plan further ahead.

You'll find more useful tools and resources on managing relationships at myNZTE - our free online portal offering curated, in-depth information and guidance to help you navigate your export and capital raising journeys.

Additional resources

Below you can find information and contact details for other New Zealand government and international agencies regarding their response to COVID-19.

New Zealand Government agencies
COVID-19 helpline for businesses
New Zealand Customs
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
New Zealand Export Credit (NZEC)
MFAT Export Helpline
MFAT Safetravel
Callaghan Innovation
Ministry of Health
WorkSafe New Zealand

Global agencies

World Health Organization (WHO)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Contact NZTE

We're available to talk to you about any issues your export business is facing due to COVID-19.

For existing NZTE customers, please contact your New Zealand-based Customer Manager.

If you're unsure who to contact or haven't worked with us before, you can call NZTE on 0800 555 888 or email below and one of our Customer Advisors will help you.