Government must support Central Otago and Te Anau businesses

MP for Southland Joseph Mooney says the Government must act urgently to support struggling Queenstown businesses as well as those across Central Otago and in Te Anau.

“COVID has had a devastating effect on the Queenstown economy, which has been pushed to another extreme by the recent shutdown of businesses during Alert Levels 3 and 4.”

“The results of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce’s recent survey should send a clear message to the Government – Queenstown businesses need support now.”

“For 90% of businesses to report they’ve lost turnover of up to $100,000 per week during Level 4 and for 25% to report they do not expect they will recover from the effects of the recent lockdown shows how dire the situation is here.”

“It should also provide the Government with all of the prompting it needs to take urgent action.”

Mooney says the Government cannot keep ignoring the pleas of the business communities of Central Otago and Te Anau.

“Businesses in Central Otago and Te Anau have been in a fight for their survival for 18 months, the Government simply cannot ignore them any longer.”

Mooney says the Government’s response to the impacts of COVID19 on Central Otago and Fiordland’s economies so far have failed to acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances their towns have faced during the pandemic.

“The contributions of small and medium sized businesses have underpinned the incredible contribution of these regions to New Zealand’s visitor numbers and the New Zealand economy.”

“For decades these regions have made incredible contributions to New Zealand’s economy and international reputation.”

“The safety of our nation had to come first and regions like Queenstown and Te Anau took what I would describe as the biggest hits of any in New Zealand.”

“It’s time to properly support those who have sacrificed their livelihoods for this country.”

“The bottom line is small to medium businesses cannot keep paying for fixed costs while shut down or operating well below capacity, like they are in Level 2-D.”

“The Government’s offers of support fail to recognise the impact that sustaining those fixed costs are having on these businesses.”

“It’s time the Government recognised what a unique position areas like Central Otago and Te Anau are in.”

Mooney says a meaningful support package for businesses across Central Otago and Te Anau must be offered as soon as possible.