New Zealand needs a clear economic roadmap

The Government’s Auckland roadmap lacks the clear signposting needed to bolster New Zealand’s economy, says National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly.

“The lack of a clear pathway out of Auckland’s current restrictions is going to seriously undermine business confidence, and not just in Auckland.

“The Government needs to understand that it cannot remain as relaxed and confident anymore about the economy’s resilience if it’s not going to offer businesses a clear, forward-looking plan.

“More and more retail and hospitality businesses say they can’t go on pumping their own hard-earned personal savings into keeping their businesses afloat amid this kind of uncertainty.

“The wage subsidy and the resurgence support payment simply aren’t enough.  If Auckland has to stay in Level 3, then a proper rental support scheme is now paramount. National has proposed a rental support scheme that struggling small businesses are crying out for.

“Banks will likely also start taking an increasingly cautious approach to the business outlook. If there was ever a time for the Minister of Finance to draw on his recent $7 billion top-up of the Covid Fund to support struggling businesses, it’s now.

“Businesses have played their part by following lockdown rules to keep us all safe. Now the Government has an obligation to support businesses because, if they fail, it’s not just the owners who are hurt.

“If businesses fail as a result of the ongoing lockdown, we will see many more thousands of people losing their jobs with all the social and health costs that come from being unemployed, plus the cost to taxpayers from supporting people through the Jobseeker benefit.

“The Government needs to put the economy ahead of its pride and be prepared to look at other ways of getting things moving. It no longer matters if it didn’t think of the ideas itself.

“Let’s not forget that small businesses are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy.”