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Statement regarding emergency support package

The event and tragedy at Whakaari on Monday 9 December has affected the entire Whakatāne community, while those whānau/families who are immediately affected by this tragedy are grieving, the Whakatāne community is grieving with them.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty (EBOP) Chamber of Commerce is grateful for the assistance extended to our business community in the form of the Prime Minister’s initial $5 million support package. This is a time of uncertainty as we enter what would traditionally have been our peak season for the visitor economy and we welcome this immediate response.

While details of the eligibility criteria remain unclear, the Chamber will work closely with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Whakatāne District Council and the appointed Ministers to ensure a positive outcome for our business community. Having been involved in several recovery operations including the Edgecumbe Floods, the EBOP Chamber of Commerce is able to take these learnings and internal capability into this new effort.

Many of our community are very aware of the far reaching impact that this event will have on their businesses. The Chamber is available to provide free support and advice to any business that requires it. We are lucky to have the generous support of Focus Chartered Accountants, who have made available members of their team for confidential advisory work to those that are worried about the cashflow impacts of this event. The Chamber would like to acknowledge the support of many leaders in our business community, especially Focus Chartered Accountants for their services.

Our amazing attractions bring in many visitors from around the world every year. We are strong believer’s in Whakatāne as a destination for all visitors. The community is rallying together to overcome these challenges and create an even stronger economy for the future.

Over the past months there has been extensive work done across the entire EBOP to create business cases for the key growth sectors in our region. We ask that the Provincial Growth Fund proactively accelerate these catalytic projects. The region needs these initiatives now more than ever to create greater resilience in our surge region.

As an organisation, the Chamber of Commerce will support and advocate for Whakatāne businesses wherever possible. The Chamber Board acknowledges all those members affected by the events of the last few days and their thoughts and best wishes are with you. Our community is grieving and this emotional support will remain, above all else, our priority.

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