Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick is welcoming the hardship scheme for small businesses impacted by the development of the City Rail Link, announced by the Mayor of Auckland and Minister of Transport today.
“I’m immensely proud to welcome this hardship fund for the small businesses I’ve spent the last year working closely with and advocating on behalf of. It cannot come soon enough, and for that reason, I’m deeply grateful that the Minister has backdated this scheme to February, when I first officially engaged him on the issue. I also want to thank Mayor Goff and Auckland Council for coming to the table with half of the funds and support here,” Auckland Central MP, Chlöe Swarbrick said.
“The City Rail Link is a huge investment in our City Centre and it will be incredible when it is finally open. Doubling the capacity of our train lines and the extra urban stations means more mobility and connectivity across the city, greater foot-traffic and meaningful meandering which tends to translate into increased spending at local businesses.
“In the meantime, existing businesses had their worlds turned upside down when foot-traffic was diverted but rents and out-goings remained largely the same, especially on Albert Street. Sadly, some have had to close their doors. Working with these businesses and their representative, Heart of the City, on a weekly basis, it is crystal clear the toll this process has had.
“This fund is a lifeline. It is also an explicit signal to commercial landlords in the area, who we know will experience a substantial boost in property value when this multi-billion-dollar public infrastructure opens. These businesses are being supported by Government, central and local, to weather this storm in place, and as Auckland Central’s MP, I will continue to advocate for them when thousands of people per day are streaming out of these new train stations.”
The fund is $12 million for the next two years, administered by City Rail Link Limited. Applications are expected to be open within the next fortnight, and advance interim payments will be available for those who would have access to the scheme based on high-level, independent assessments.