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Business Continuity Package "will Support Cashflow And Confidence"

Today’s announcement around the Government’s Economic Response Package will provide some comfort and assurance for both employers and employees, says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.

The $12.1 billion package, which is four per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s GDP, is aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19, building business resilience, and maintaining connections between employers and employees. It includes wage subsidies, a fund for training and redeployment, and tax measures.

Ms Watson says this "will support cashflow and confidence" but cautions that there also needs to be ongoing targeted business advice and support available to help businesses remain sustainable long-term, "this is a marathon, not a sprint".

"We have been advocating strongly on behalf of local business, directly and indirectly via BusinessNZ, with Government for direct cashflow support for business, and support for the livelihoods of New Zealanders, so we welcome today’s announcement and response to the business community.

"We are particularly pleased to see applications for the wage subsidies are available from today, with payments from five days’ time, particularly to those who have already faced significant impacts and more so following further travel restrictions over the weekend."

Ms Watson says that businesses will welcome much-awaited certainty around available support, including clarity around leave payments.

"Unlike many of the other challenges we - as a nation and a region - have faced, the impact and complexities around COVID-19 differ from business to business dramatically. As well as the economic factors, there is also the underlying fact that at the heart of every business is people, so the health, safety and wellbeing of our community has to be forefront in our decision-making, while also balancing the need to keep workers in jobs and businesses afloat.

"We will continue to do whatever we can to support all businesses in addition to our membership base through this period. It’s times like this that we cannot underestimate the collective power of working together and supporting each other to get through."

To help the local business community stay informed and prepared, The Chamber has organised a Critical Update event for dealing with disruption arising from the COVID-19 situation, to be held at The Chamber on 25 March. This is a free event for members and non-members - to register, click here or visit www.thechamber.co.nz or call 0800 50 50 96. The event will also be available online following the event.

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