Small to medium businesses are paying a heavy price for the Government’s extension of the lockdown period and they urgently need more support, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“A week longer in full lockdown followed by heavy restrictions at level three spells a lot of pain for many small businesses who still won’t be able to open and risks thousands of jobs.
“Jacinda Ardern’s refusal yesterday to extend the wage subsidy programme will dishearten many small business operators who face zero revenues for at least seven weeks and mounting costs. Meantime, the government-backed business loan scheme is having limited uptake – because struggling businesses worry about more debt – and little has been done to help with rents.
“All New Zealanders stand to benefit from the public health effort, but a disproportionate share of the economic pain is being felt by small and medium sized businesses and their employees.
“The best thing we can do is open more of the economy up, sooner. Many businesses, in construction and retail in particularly, are looking with envy across the Tasman wondering why they can’t be working safely just as our Australian friends are.
“However if that’s our Government’s call, then it’s only right that more support is offered.
“Very few businesses can survive seven weeks of zero revenue, to be followed by weeks and possibly months of struggle afterwards.
“Budget announcements in nearly a month’s time will be too late for many; the Government must act now.”