The government has lowered the threshold for businesses wanting to apply for its extended wage subsidy scheme.

Businesses that have seen their revenue drop by 40 per cent because of Covid-19 will now be eligible.

Originally, only businesses whose income had halved because of the pandemic could apply.

The government says the widened criteria means 40,000 more businesses will be eligible for the eight-week scheme from next week.

Small businesses have also been given an extension of more than a month to apply for the small business cashflow loan scheme.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the changes were made after feedback from businesses.

"While many New Zealanders are now back at work and our economy is one of the most open in the world, there are businesses that will feel the impact of this global pandemic for longer," Robertson said.

"The tourism, retail and hospitality sectors will in particular be supported by the extended wage subsidy and cashflow support."

The government is forecast to spend up to $3.9 billion on the extended scheme, up from $3.2b under the old threshold.