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Government must wake up as Auckland hits crisis point – clear, simple roadmap needed

Press release
Friday 8 Oct 2021

Heart of the City is calling on the Government to deliver a clear roadmap with timeframes that make sense and enable businesses to get moving. They also want to see an easy to repay loan initiative that has been presented to Treasury considered.

“The road map announced on Monday has left businesses gobsmacked. This has reached a crisis point for many businesses and Monday’s announcement has crushed hope and left a lot of people angry.  After shouldering around $850M loss of consumer spending since the start of last year, our businesses deserve better,” says Viv Beck Chief Executive of Heart of the City. 

Beck says that “There is a desperate need for certainty and confidence. Businesses need a reason to remain optimistic for the future because right now, with the lack of clarity around when they can trade safely, no clear border policy, no clear vaccination policy, no commitment to additional financial support and no timeframes to work with, that is extraordinarily difficult to find.”

There are significant costs for businesses and these continue to mount.  There is only so long people can survive without money coming in.

“The biggest hurdle to recovery right now is that Government is not listening and acting on feedback from the business sector. It feels like we are banging our heads against a brick wall, week after week.”

“The Prime Minister and Finance Minister should come and meet impacted businesses.  We hear a lot about GDP/debt ratios and unemployment levels, but our politicians need to get under the covers and understand what is really going on under the high-level figures.  They need to get around the table with business and sector groups to agree on sensible operating guidelines to get businesses open again. The voice of business that drives our economy needs to have a seat at the table.”

“They need to be open to ideas and act much faster.  Weeks ago we asked Treasury to respond on a low-cost, easy-to-repay ‘overdraft’ facility that could help save some businesses right now.  This week, they have told us they can’t respond to simple questions, meanwhile overnight in the UK this is being touted as a smart idea that could be a promising option as the country’s furlough scheme is being cut.  This is just one example and it’s not good enough.”

What is needed:

  • Business at the decision table  
  • Clear targets for vaccination levels and a policy on mandating vaccination passports
  • Clear timeframes for opening businesses and the border
  • Wage subsidy and weekly resurgence payment through into Level 2 for qualifying businesses in Auckland
  • Sensible guidelines that enable businesses to operate safely, fairly and reward rather than punish those who are double vaccinated
  • A low-cost and easy-to-repay loan scheme considered by Treasury