Economic recovery is top of mind for businesses across New Zealand. Questions like how are we going to survive? Will we get through this? Why isn’t the government supporting us? These have circulated throughout the business community for over a year.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Grant Robertson purported on 3rd September that New Zealand’s economy “is operating at pre-Covid levels”, despite two nationwide Alert Level 4 lockdowns within the past 18 months.

However, businesses do not share the Finance Minister’s confidence. A collaborative survey by the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce and Chambers across the North Island found that 65% of businesses needed financial support from the government to survive the latest lockdown.

Businesses across New Zealand are crying out for a continuation of financial support. In under a week the Chamber collective created a petition for a longer-term Resurgence Support Payment and gathered close to 60,000 signatures. Under the initial system, businesses could only receive a one-off payment which equates to approximately 60% of a single week’s expenses.

Wider economic issues have been in the spotlight for over a year now, issues that date back to our (seemingly distant) pre-Covid past.

Staffing shortages have reached a crisis point for many local businesses where skilled employees are in high demand, and we simply don’t have the skills in our national workforce.

Supply chain disruption and material shortages are having a flow on effect of stalling construction, manufacturing and causing businesses to think creatively about how they can still get the job done with a change in material. To paraphrase Game of Thrones, Christmas is coming.

Kiwi ingenuity can only get us so far in this climate.

Discussions with parliamentary ministers have been rich in conversation and planning. Our leaders are responsible for the wellbeing and economic stability of our country and need to lead from the front.

Karla Lee, CEO, HB Chamber of Commerce

Chamber CEOs from around the country met with both Hon. Grant Robertson and Hon. Stuart Nash, where both ministers identified the elimination strategy coupled with vaccinations as the saving solution for the country. The CEOs lobbied for more business support regarding the resurgence payment, and for Government to look at amending the current lockdown rules for businesses.

Advocacy is the jewel in the crown of the Hawke’s Bay Chamber. Collective lobbying drove home the need for further business support from the government, culminating in a continuation of the Resurgence Payment. 

From Friday 17th September, eligible businesses will be able to apply for three further payments, three weeks apart, and will be available until all of New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1 for one month.

Pragmatically, our pre-Covid country is no more. We are presented with an exciting opportunity to recreate our future, to do it together as a nation with a clear plan to tackle issues that have crippled us in the past.

What we really need is a think tank of regional business leaders, a way to share ideas and think big to create the New Zealand of tomorrow.

Business leaders are innovative, lovers of solutions, and harbour a delicate balance of risk and reward. 

I don’t have all the answers, but I know the direction Aotearoa needs to take: a clear roadmap, accountability, and support across all areas.

Let’s create a sharing economy, a place for all Kiwi’s to have a say and create the future we want for our country. 

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