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Loss of $1m spending per day needs co-ordinated response

Press release
Monday 14 Sep 2020

Staying at Level 2.5 for at least another 10 days, represents a loss of around $1m of spending per day and crippling news as some businesses face an uncertain future and the hard-won vibrancy of the city centre is further challenged. 

With the further delay in getting to Level 1, Heart of the City, the city centre business association is putting out another call for a co-ordinated response to supporting the city centre’s recovery, to include targeted support for sectors most impacted and initiatives to boost demand.

Immediate actions could include stimulatory initiatives such as the Restaurant Associations’ proposed Dine Out to Help Out campaign, effective support for negotiating serious rental issues, investment to support city centre recovery and encouraging the return to work for example by continuing public transport incentives.

“Whilst we appreciate the challenges with balancing the health situation and ongoing cases, the ongoing economic impact for the city centre is significant and seriously impacted businesses can’t be left to simply go it alone.  With the wage subsidy coming to an end and customers simply not here in sufficient numbers because of border closures, studying and working from home, quick and coordinated action is needed.” says Viv Beck, Chief Executive Heart of the City.

Ongoing subsidies are not sustainable but we can’t let sectors fall over without exploring alternative means of supporting them – other countries have offered a range of one-off schemes and for a longer period to provide more certainty and to support businesses that are most impacted by ‘stay at home’ restrictions.  Some seem to have a greater understanding of the shock this perfect storm of closing the majority of customers off has on city centres.”

In addition to stimulatory opportunities to grow spend such as Restaurant Month, which Heart of the City has extended to the end of September, and domestic marketing campaigns, a strategic approach to the city centre (which delivers 20% of Auckland’s GDP) that is developed in a co-ordinated way with central and local government and business, is needed.

“There needs to be a clear and sustainable plan to enable economic recovery that gives business confidence of how we will move forward from here.  There is work underway but it must be fast tracked. We are asking local government and central government to work with us to make this happen with urgency.”