Auckland bar owner confronts Chris Hipkins over lack of support for hospitality businesses

Lloyd Burr 11/10/2021

LISTEN: The owner of a chain of popular Auckland bars and eateries has confronted COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins during a live radio interview about the lack of support for hospitality businesses.

Many businesses are suffering the economic effects of the city's latest and continuing lockdown restrictions, which many describe as "confusing" and "messy".

Sam Ansley, owner of Bedford Soda and Liquor, Roxy and Everybody’s, told Lloyd Burr Live it's "confronting" not knowing what the future looks like.

"The industry, in general, we listen to the Government a lot and we fed off what they were saying in terms of there needs to be a simple system for both restrictions and I think for support," Ansley said.

He says the restrictions in place at the moment are "complex".

"We need support when we get back to trading at Level 2, that sits outside of the structure you've got at the moment," he told Chris Hipkins.

"I've burnt through $200,000 worth of cash in my bank to keep my businesses open to this point now."

Ansley says banks are now refusing to loan him more money.

"I can kind of see their point because there is a lack of certainty and clarity about when we're opening back up," Ansley said.

In reply, Hipkins said the Government changed level rules to allow people to drink and eat in parks instead of in a pub as it was a "public health risk".

"We all want to see hospitality being able to reopen. We also don't want to see hospitality having to lurch in and out of restrictions which we have seen in other countries," Hipkins told Magic Talk.

He says vaccine certificates are going to be part of our future.

"They're going to allow some of our businesses, who really are doing it tough, to get back to something that looks and feels a lot more like normal," Hipkins said.

Hipkins would not comment on financial support for hospitality businesses noting it was a question for the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson.

Listen to the full discussion with Sam Ansley and Chris Hipkins above.

Magic Talk | Lloyd Burr Live, weekdays from 4pm.

Missed an interview on Magic Talk? Subscribe to the Daily Dialogue now.