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Time to unleash Auckland’s recovery

Press release
Sunday 10 Apr 2022

After more than 30 weeks of restrictions since August, it’s time to give Auckland’s businesses a fair go and confirm Orange on Monday, along with the extension of COVID support payments for those who need it.

Heart of the City’s Chief Executive Viv Beck says that “Many city centre businesses are hanging on by the slimmest thread –  a shift to Orange would be mean opening up to more customers, giving people the chance to get back on their feet before there are more closures.”

“Last week’s announcement was gutting, no certainty was provided, just as more workers were primed to return which would have had an immediate impact on city centre businesses geared to serve them.  It’s extremely frustrating to be told that spending was down only 9% in the latter part of March, when many of our city centre businesses were down more than 40%. There’s just no real concern shown for what is happening to impacted businesses in Auckland.”

Beck says “There is a great line up of activity ahead to attract people back and we want our businesses to be here to benefit from this, along with the reopening of the border.  They have shown extraordinary resilience. It’s well past the time to elevate their priority in the decision making.”

“Some businesses desperately need ongoing financial support to survive, and it’s very disappointing how this has been handled.  The three COVID support payments – finally provided in March/April - are appreciated, but we’re still in Red, and they’ve ended. An uptick of spending may be happening for some but with trading down on average 40% in the city centre we’re not anywhere near back to a sustainable level of trading. There’s a very clear case for continued payments for those who need it, particularly as there no mechanism such as COVID loans to act as a backup.”

Beck says “We’re asking Aucklanders to come and support their favourite businesses, enjoy getting back together with workmates, and keep an eye out for events and activities ahead so they can come back and enjoy what the city centre has to offer.  This will make a difference but the reality is, that some businesses need support for a bit longer to get through.