Auckland businesses living day by day with weakened balance sheets, low confidence and uncertainty are reaching a point of no return and will not survive lockdowns every time a new Covid-19 outbreak emerges, warns Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.
“Just one more lockdown and they are gone. That’s the blunt message from almost half the small and medium enterprises who responded to the Chamber’s latest survey,” he said.
The survey revealed 18% of businesses indicated they could not survive a further lockdown, 28% said they could manage just one more and 24% indicated two more.
“Lockdowns this severe are not sustainable they are telling us,” Mr Barnett said. “The effect reverberates beyond the region but across New Zealand stifling attempts at economic revival and recovery.”
Many of the businesses who responded said they needed a grant to help with cashflow, their most crippling issue, but they will need ongoing help with overheads and compliance costs, easier access to funding lifelines like wage subsidies to keep on employees and cutting red tape to get the benefit of low and no interest loans and other financial deferral schemes.
“Long term though business said handouts are not the solution to their sustainability. To build confidence, they need certainty. They want the game plan for how we all co-exist with the virus over the next 12-18 months with economic wellbeing given a similar weighting to health outcomes,” Mr Barnett said.
“Shutdowns and blanket bans on certain sorts of enterprise are not the answer. Business must be allowed to operate and manage their own bubbles with a safe operating plan. It’s government’s job to manage the borders and keep us safe by containing and stamping out any re-emergence rather than stamping out people’s livelihoods and community wellbeing.
“Trust in doing the right thing works both ways,” he said.
For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Business Chamber.