Businesses will be grateful for the two week extension to the wage subsidy as a band aid to get them through, but the bar is set too high for the battered sector only just inching to recovery before this lockdown knocked their confidence and balance sheets again, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.
“The initial subsidy scheme was set at 30 percent which was really a lifeline. This two-week extension at the higher 40 per cent bar is a stretch too far, complicated to operate and not in sync with businesses who have had the rug pulled from under them,” he said. “Yes, they will be pleased with the simplifying of leave scheme criteria and mortgage deferral, but the wage subsidy needs to work to keep business ticking over and people in jobs.”
Mr Barnett said Government has to provide certainty for business to operate as alert level settings shift up and down by pursuing a containment and compliance regime rather than lockdown as the default.
“Business cannot face on and off lockdowns. There has to be a better, long term plan to build economic momentum,” he says. “There is no vaccine as yet. We have to learn to live with this virus and become experts at minimising damage to commerce and the community harnessing smart technology, rigorous testing, track and trace systems and demonstrating a high level of personal responsibility.”
For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Business Chamber.