Westfield Glenfield Mall Owner: "We can't pay bills with compassion"

coronavirus 28/04/2020

KFC, McDonald's, drive-thrus - they're all open - but shopping malls remain closed. It could be a fortnight, it could be longer - no one really knows when they'll be allowed to open again.

Dallas Prendergast is the co-owner of Glenfield Mall with her husband Ross, and Dallas joins Ryan Bridge to discuss that.

Ryan asks if she thinks the government is being a little over the top with it's reaction to covid-19.

"I've been onboard with the health measures [put in place]. I think it was a good move to go into lockdown."

Dallas comments further, saying that since the four weeks of lockdown and New Zealand's relatively low numbers of deaths and cases - the strict measures put in place should be reduced.

I don't think its enough to stop small businesses from opening.

Some more points made by Dallas.

"Our Prime Minister is asking landlords to show compassion. We're already doing that. We're already trying hard to support our tenants in every way."

It's naïve to say 'show some compassion'. Compassion doesn't pay our bills.

Dallas asks: doesn't the New Zealand Government realise the landlords' overheads continue as well? "Clearly, they have completely failed to take it into account.”

Dallas and her husband Ross have already halved the rent and operating expenditure for their tenants to assist them, forcing them to dip into their own savings.

There are so few people who have been affected by this virus in New Zealand and the worst is over. From the ordinary person on the street's point of view, we are all gobsmacked that we are not able to open our mall.

Dallas said it was an "insult" when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern thanked small businesses during one of her press conferences last week for enduring the lockdown restrictions.

They don't want thank you - they want to get back to work.

Listen to the full interview above.