17 August 2020

Extended support provides “welcome relief” for many Canterbury businesses

Today’s announcement regarding a new wage subsidy scheme and a simplified leave scheme have been welcomed by Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson. 
Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson today announced a new wage subsidy which is open until 1 September for eligible businesses – enabling a number of businesses that weren’t able to access the extended wage subsidy before it expires on 1 September to become eligible to do so – and the removal of the revenue drop and ‘negatively impacted’ tests for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme. The mortgage deferral scheme is also being extended from its current end-date of 27 September, to 31 March 2021. 
Ms Watson says these nationwide support developments will provide a “welcome relief” for many businesses in Waitaha Canterbury. 
“While Canterbury businesses are operating under Alert Level 2, many are doing so in a reduced capacity, and some are also being dually impacted by Auckland’s Alert Level 3 restrictions.  
“The loss of income from Auckland travellers is costing the Canterbury region $1million a day according to Government data, including $850,000 in Ōtautahi Christchurch. This compounds losses during lockdown that businesses haven’t been able to recoup at a time when trading was just starting to bounce back. 
“We have also had hundreds of calls over the last week from employers whose employees have used their sick leave so initiatives such as the COVID-19 Leave Scheme are important components to ensure both employers and employees are supported. 
“The reality is that a number of businesses, particularly those in the hospitality, tourism, and accommodation sectors, are really struggling with this second wave of restrictions, which will also have an impact on sectors such as construction and international education, as well as supply chain logistics for sectors such as manufacturing.  
“Even when businesses can open when we return to Alert Level 1, many will still be impacted with the borders closed, as well as the social impact this second wave could have in terms of people being more cautious to get out and above and support local businesses. 
“It is good to see that Government has recognised that their support needs to be adaptable to the changing alert levels and that the various schemes are fit purpose in a changing environment. It is also encouraging to hear that the Government is open to further extensions if needed. 
“We collectively need to do everything we can to minimise that impact – through Government initiatives, the availability of trusted advice and support, and by consumers and businesses supporting New Zealand businesses.” 
Ms Watson says it was also positive to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement today around moving the general election to 17 October.  
“This provides certainty around a question that has been front-of-mind for many people. Crucially, it also provides time for parties to share the detail of their policy platforms to ensure the business and wider community are well-informed going into the voting process.” 

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For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Leeann Watson, Chief Executive, 027 447 7775, [email protected]

The Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) is a not-for-profit membership-based service organisation that has been the home and voice of business in the Canterbury region since 1859. Comprised of over 2,800 member organisations that represent over 70,000 employees, The Chamber’s purpose is to empower people in business by providing advisory and consultancy support in employment relations, human resources, health and safety, international trade, manufacturing, migrant support, research and development grants, and training and development in many areas.

Affiliated to BusinessNZ and the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry