Aucklanders will be disappointed, and businesses devastated by the Government’s decision to keep us locked down under the restrictions of a health only response, and again ignoring the mounting economic and social costs, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.
“Auckland cannot afford to stay in Alert Level 4. We’re bleeding tens of millions of dollars each week but there are social and personal impacts negatively impacting people’s wellbeing, confidence, and willingness to comply with this health first approach,” he said.
“There has to be a better balance to get us out of the sick bay and back to health – physically, socially, and economically – rather than perpetuating this vicious circle of stamp it out, wait for the inevitable next breach at the border and lock us down. We need a different response to live with Covid as safely as possible without killing our livelihoods and lifestyle.”
Mr Barnett said there is frustration at the unevenness and unfairness of the way essential business has been defined, favouring well-resourced and financially cushioned large firms.
“This is hitting sectors and businesses differently. Vineyards are unable to prune which will impact this year’s harvest; manufacturers have lost customers because they have failed to deliver supplies to feed industries able to operate down the country; hospitality outlets are teetering because they need a client base with the freedom to move. And then there are the winners – those that can work from home, government servants, and of course, the supermarkets.
“SMEs, the engines of the economy, are capable of contactless commerce and must be able to operate, not live hand to mouth on subsidies, hoping that they can stretch dwindling resources while a plan is hatched to open the Auckland economy.”
For more information, please contact Michael Barnett on 027 563 1150
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Business Chamber