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The New Zealand government has released a list of what it considers to be “Essential Business” and therefore exempt from the lockdown.

Essential services include the whole supply chain for food, from farmers through to supermarket staff.

Building and construction staff who may be called on to fix a problem in a hospital or another is essential service provider are also regarded as essential services.

Here is a list of essential services that can operate during the coronavirus lockdowns:


  • Accommodation services for essential workers and people who need to be isolated/quarantined


  • Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries

Building and Construction

  • Building and construction related to essential services, critical infrastructure, or immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work

Courts, Tribunals and The Justice System

  • Courts of New Zealand and tribunals
  • Critical Crown entities (eg Electoral Commission)

Education at Level 3 only:

  • Schools and educational facilities (e.g. ECE centres)

Fast-moving Consumer Goods

  • Businesses involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods (but not takeaway shops)

Financial Services

  • Banks, insurers and other financial institutions


  • Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities
  • Ambulance services
  • Mortuary services

Local and National Government

  • Any entity involved in Covid-19 response or that has civil defence/emergency management functions

Key Public Services

  • Primary industries, including food and beverage production and processing
  • Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products
  • Food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions
  • Veterinary and animal health/welfare services

Public Safety and National Security

  • Emergency services
  • Security and intelligence services
  • Justice system
  • Public safety and national security roles


  • Any entity (including research organisations) involved in Covid-19 response, hazard monitoring, resilience, diagnostics for essential services

Social Services

  • Welfare and social services, including NGOs, which meet immediate needs (further guidance will be provided)

Transport and Logistics

  • Transport services
  • New Zealand Post and courier services
  • Any small passenger service vehicle driver – including taxis and ride-share services
  • Utilities and communications, including supply chains
  • Electricity, gas, water, waste, fuel, telecommunication services, internet providers and media

Entities providing essential services (including their supply chains)

This list would be reviewed over the coming days:


At alert level 3, non-essential businesses in New Zealand must close. According to the Government’s Covid-19 website, this includes all bars, restaurants, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries and playgrounds.

Any other place where the public congregates that is deemed non-essential must close its face-to-face operation. All indoor and outdoor events are cancelled.

Additionally, over the next 48 hours as the country moves to level 4, takeaway services must close their operations.


The information in this article is indicative of NZ tax rules and changes and not intended to be complete for all intents or purposes and does not constitute advice. It is recommended that you obtain professional advice, suited to your particular circumstances, from us before acting on anything you read.