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Chamber Supports Council Proposed Rates Payment Deferral, Awaits Further Details

The proposals considered at today’s Wellington City Council meeting are the start of what the city needs, says the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has said Council will look to fast-track a suite of City Council initiatives, that aim to soften the impact of COVID-19.

"What we’ve seen recommended in the proposed Pandemic Response Plan is a good start," says John Milford, Chief Executive, Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

"Now we wait to see the final package, and what it will mean for the city.

The Chamber urges all Councillors to work together to quickly put in place the details.

"While not settled today, we understand there will be a range of rates options, including rates freeze.

"Right now we have businesses who are making tough decisions, trying to do whatever they can to keep their staff employed while others are forced to close. Wellington businesses pay nearly half the total rate-take, and pay the highest proportion of rates in the country. Wellington businesses can’t afford more costs right now.

"We would also strongly support the recommendation that for rates deferrals, and the requirement that any deferment for commercial ratepayers must ensure that benefits are passed onto business tenants.

"Shortening payment time-frames for suppliers who provide goods and services to Council from 20 to 7 days will also help with those businesses' cash flow at this time.

"Finally we would support bringing forward investment for infrastructure projects, but urge the Council to work closely with Central Government, given funding and financial implications."

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