Clarity about Level 4 trading rules now urgent

National’s Economic Development and Small Business spokesperson Todd McClay has today written to Ministers David Clark and Stuart Nash asking them to urgently clarify the rules around which businesses are able to open safely during the Level 4 lockdown and the procedures for companies to receive an authorisation to trade.

“During last year’s lockdown we saw the Government change the rules during the lockdown around who could open, which left many businesses dealing with an avoidable loss of stock.

“It’s imperative that government decision making is transparent. The Government must clearly explain what the rules are and why they are in place if we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of last year’s lockdown.”

Mr McClay said with Level 4 likely to be extended many businesses were facing a loss in perishable goods, but also in revenue. The Government must work with them to alleviate uncertainty and allow those businesses to trade where it can be done safely.

“Reports of butcher shops losing meat, fruit and vege shops not being able to sell produce and florists losing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of flowers are heart-breaking. This is their livelihood and watching their product rot is incredibly difficult.

“Kiwis are again being asked to sacrifice.

“The Government should be doing everything possible to help them and their businesses get through lockdown including explaining why it’s safe for a dairy to open with masks and social distancing but butcher shops, bakeries and greengrocers cannot.”

Mr McClay said that while MBIE had published a list of authorised sectors, MPs were receiving calls from constituents about ongoing confusion. Many say they feel safer being socially distanced at their butcher or baker than at one of the large supermarket chains.

“Everyone wants to get this right, and to be treated fairly. Ministers need to provide clarity urgently about the rules and why they are in place.”