But they must meet tight criteria to get the accommodation, welfare and medical assistance.
The government will provide up to $400 a person, each week, to contribute towards accommodation costs for impacted Cook Islands residents through New Zealand’s four-week self-quarantine period.
Then there will be weekly welfare assistance of up to $250 a person to help with essential needs like food, transport, clothing and medicine.
Gaylyn Lockington, who is trapped in New Zealand, said they had received application forms.
“Of course it would be a relief if I am entitled to it,” she said, “so I’ve applied and sent them off. It’s a waiting game now.”
Cook Islands residents who were intending to return home prior to the lockdown will be eligible. This means a minimum four weeks self-quarantine, subject to review and possible extension as necessary.
Persons eligible to receive the above assistance are those ordinarily resident in the Cook Islands, including students studying abroad.
If Cook Islands residents decide to extend their stay in New Zealand for other reasons, the financial assistance will no longer apply.
Piakura Passfield, the First Secretary Cook Islands High Commission in New Zealand, assured the stranded residents that applications would be processed as quickly as possible.
“Please be patient and understanding that it will take a few days before any funds reach you, particularly as government officials in the Cook Islands are also heading into the weekend,” Passfield said. “We will try to get financial assistance to you as soon as we can.”
Pasifika Futures are also providing support packages to Pacific families impacted by Covid-19. These packages are intended to help families meet the costs of basic necessities.
New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is providing assistance in sourcing temporary accommodation for visitors stranded in New Zealand.