Things are dire for businesses in New Zealand

With half the North Island in sustained Level 3 lockdowns, businesses all over the country are in dire, dire trouble, National’s Small Business and Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“That’s more than 40 percent of New Zealanders under strict restrictions and with tourism in Queenstown and Rotorua also experiencing their worst school holidays on record the Government must act and swiftly to keep kiwis in jobs.

“The Government need only read the news to find report after report of collapsed businesses and the extreme measures others are taking to just stay afloat. Retirement funds are being drained and houses are being re-mortgaged and all with no guarantee of how much longer they will need to hold on for.

“The rest of the country may be at Level Delta 2, but when businesses rely so much on the Auckland market they too are in crisis. Tourism businesses in particular have been brought to their knees. No international market and no Auckland market, has left them with a slither of the customer base they are used to.

“The wage subsidy and resurgence payments have been welcomed, but the Government must understand that it is just not enough. If businesses continue to collapse the cost to the country in monetary and social terms will be significant.

“The Finance Minister has been willing to splash the Covid Fund around for completely unrelated projects. He must use it for what it was intended for and invest heavily in keeping businesses afloat. This investment will be miniscule compared to the cost of mass unemployment.

“In Queenstown this week, I had business owners telling me they could not see how they would make it through.

“These businesses are not at fault for the disastrous situation they find themselves in. Government decisions have put them there and it is only right that the Government provides comprehensive support.

“I have seen the misery these lockdowns are wrecking on New Zealanders and the Government must do more – substantially more. The Government has pulled the rug out from under small business owners and they deserve support to make it through.”