While it’s great to be out of lockdown, businesses in the Bay and throughout New Zealand will continue to struggle as long as our country’s largest market, Auckland, remains isolated at level four, or even at level three.
While Aucklanders cannot shop, travel or manufacture goods, businesses elsewhere are still suffering negative impacts.
My team and I have noticed that this year’s level four lockdown has been more efficiently managed than our first time in March 2020.
The fact that we have not had as many complaints about logistics, travel exceptions, wage subsidy access and employment concerns is a testament to the efforts of the public servants and front line workers who have managed the process so well.
For those issues that have been reported to us, we’ve had very swift resolution from the agencies involved.
Wage Subsidy and Resurgence Support Payments have been of great assistance, but do not address the significant outgoings most business owners pay in rent.
My colleague Andrew Bayly recently announced National’s SME Rental Support Package, which would provide up to 50 per cent of rental and building operating costs by the Crown in return for the landlord discounting rental costs by 25 per cent.
This is how we would like to see remnants of the Covid Response and Recovery Fund allocated and the policy has the support of key industry bodies including Hospitality NZ, the Restaurant and Franchise Associations, Retail NZ and Business New Zealand.
National is calling for the Finance Minister to accept this proposal and help thousands of small businesses stay afloat throughout lockdown.