Govt not doing enough to support struggling Auckland businesses

Leah Panapa 02/11/2021

LISTEN: Ahead of Monday’s Alert level announcement, a group of high-profile Auckland business associations penned an open letter asking the Prime Minister to shift down Alert Levels, pleading to "Let’s Get Moving."

While many businesses are able to carry on, the business associations’ retail, hospitality, arts, events, entertainment, tourism, and personal service sectors are being unduly disadvantaged.

The group had requested an immediate change to Alert Level 3, Step 3, under the existing COVID Alert system.

Newmarket Business Association chief executive Mark Knoff-Thomas says while they are "delighted" to see some movement, businesses are "disappointed" it hasn't happened sooner.

"I would've liked to have seen the government be a bit bolder and go down two steps to allow hospitality to crank up again," he told Magic Talk.

"The retail and hospitality sectors are on the ropes and they really need to get trading as fast as possible."

Knoff-Thomas says since the first lockdown in Q1 2020, Newmarket businesses have lost $220m in total. That figure could even be as high as $300m in lost revenue.

"Week-to-week it's about $16m a week that Newmarket is losing alone," he said.

"We're not talking about big business getting back up and running, we're talking about mum and dad businesses who have sunk their life savings; they've taken out loans against their business."

Knoff-Thomas says small businesses need all the help they can get to stay open.

Listen to the full interview with Mark Knoff-Thomas above.

Magic Talk | Mornings with Leah Panapa, weekdays from 9am.

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