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Business calls for better Business Support - Petition hits 40,000

At the beginning of this week the Chamber was receiving a large number of calls from businesses facing the prospect of two more weeks in level 4 lockdown followed by at least one in level 3. The concern from business was their ability to meet the cost of overheads over a prolonged period, in environments where they had no revenue. Those overheads are costs relating to rent, rates, utilities, hire purchase, and associated business costs.

The Chamber had already initiated conversations with Government about the possibility of extending the Resurgence Package to a weekly payment for business – this is a package that permits a payment of $1,500 plus $400 per employee (max 50) on the basis that their revenue was down 30%. It is a one-off payment and would be about 50 – 60% of a business’ actual overheads for one week.

The Government is currently paying a wage subsidy for employees which is $600 per employee, and if taken by employers should be topped up to 80% of an employee’s wage- making this a cost to the employer.

“If an employer is going to be there at the end of the lockdown, and not burdened with debt, we need the Government to recognise that businesses too, need support,” said Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett. “We don’t expect Government to meet all the cost, but it seems fair that they would contribute – after all when the lockdown is gone, its businesses that will employ and create healthy communities”, he said.

The Chamber launched a petition on Monday of this week to get the backing of business for additional Government support – “our expectation was that we would get good support from Auckland, but instead business organisations up and down the country have promoted the petition and 40,000 businesses have given their support,” said Barnett. “I need the Government to listen and acknowledge the issue but more importantly I need them to respond “, he said.

“This week I have spoken to Businesses across the country – I have received letters from business owners who are desperate, and I intend taking their message to Government”, Barnett said.

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