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Call for assistance from Council and Government

Canterbury Small to Medium Businesses
Call for assistance from Council and Government

Consistent with assistance given to the Kiwifruit industry and a package announced by the Government to support Northland farmers needing drought relief, small to medium business owners affected by the Canterbury earthquakes call on the Government to provide them with immediate and tangible support.

Such support is critical to ensure the survival of many businesses in the Canterbury region.

Many small to medium business enterprises are in danger of failure, directly attributable to the effects of the earthquakes. Such failure will affect not only the business owners themselves, but also staff and, consequentially, the Canterbury economy.

Many small to medium business owners in Canterbury have found that, despite having insurance for loss of or interruption to trade, they have been declined cover because their businesses have been able to open and operate, albeit in a limited way. This does not take into account the widespread effect of the earthquakes which has placed many businesses in jeopardy. Neither does it take into account that, in most cases, insurance policies relating to loss of trade and business interruption were entered into in good faith and that significant loss of trade has resulted from the earthquakes.

This meeting therefore calls on the Government and City Council to provide immediate and long-term support, to small and medium business enterprises comprising:

• An immediate payment of $1,000 per employee to cover holiday pay and other wage-related costs incurred for the Christmas - New Year period.

• The reinstatement of the $350 week wages subsidy, backdated to 3 November.

• A waiver of fees to local authorities for consents related to demolition and the rebuilding of damaged buildings.

• Access to interest-free loans to cover repair work and ensure business survival where not adequately covered by insurance.

• Rates-relief beyond that already provided.

• The promotion of Canterbury to potential tourists, overseas student and others who may have been dissuaded from coming to the region as a result of the earthquakes.

• Facilitating meeting among the Government, Council and insurance companies, including the Insurance Council, to ensure that the spirit of insurance policies is honoured.

• In the long-term, that EQC cover be extended to businesses.

These support measure are contingent on small to medium businesses being able to demonstrate a loss of trade arising from the earthquakes; meaning losses or hardship beyond the variances of normal trading conditions.


ENDS

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