Clear plan welcome, implementation critical

22 October, 2021

The EMA welcomes the Government’s announcement of support for Auckland business in particular, and the new COVID-19 protection framework which aims to move away from lockdowns and enable businesses and events to full re-open to vaccinated New Zealanders.

However, Chief Executive Brett O’Riley questions how the new ‘traffic light’ system is practically going to work for business.

"We are pleased to see that the specific support we’ve been asking for as part of the Auckland Business Leaders Group and our own members has come to fruition. But there will be many challenges before it can be introduced, and in its implementation," he says.

"We understand the 90 per cent vaccination rate before the new traffic light system comes in, but this is going to take some doing. The community-wide requirement for COVID-19 Vaccinations Certificates will be a strong incentive for those people who are yet to make the decision to get vaccinated, and we are pleased to see the focus by the Government on this.

"Getting to the 90 per cent target in Auckland is going to be a challenge and while the $120m allocated to targeting our Maori community is great news, we’d like to know particularly how the Government plans to reach other communities, such as those who are opposed to this vaccine but would have one of the others.

He applauds the Government’s focus on and funding of a programme for Mental Health and Wellbeing for business, and says it is crucial for recovery.

"We hear every day, first-hand through our AdviceLine and the Business Helpline how people are suffering and we look forward to working with the Auckland Business Chamber on this initiative. We will also be able to provide business support assistance through the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network managed by Auckland Unlimited."

"The $50m for the RBP to provide 10,000 businesses with mentoring and advice to help them recover and grow into the future is an excellent practical step to support our businesses and economy."

The doubling of the Resurgence Payment from November 12 and its two weekly payment frequency will also be critical for businesses that have been on the brink for months, and will be the difference for many being able to survive until the traffic light system is implemented in Auckland, says Mr O’Riley.

The EMA will continue to work with the Government on specific sector plans as part of this new approach to practically support businesses to get safety back to work as soon as possible, ahead of the November 29 date to review the country’s current settings.

"We are pleased to see initiatives like outdoor dining being recognised as important solutions to businesses in the hospitality sector being able to generate cash-flow in advance of the move to the traffic light system.

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