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'We need to support local retailers' - Mayor on post-pandemic challenge

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Ensuring the success and continuation of our local businesses will be one of greatest challenges post-pandemic says Wairoa Mayor Craig Little.

Mr Little said that as we begin to find out more about the next stage of the COVID-19 battle, it is important we think about how we can best support our businesses once we leave lockdown.

“The Government has done well in its efforts to keep the economy going with wage subsidies and assistance, but we know some businesses in particular will need extra support.

“I have been liaising with our local MP and Minister of Small Business the Honourable Stuart Nash around the Government’s announcement of a range of new support measures for small and medium-sized businesses, including a $3.1 billion tax relief package and funding for $25 million worth of business consultancy support.

“I welcome these measures which are in recognition of the need for more support, particularly in the small-to-medium-sized business space.

“Predictions are that a lot of smaller businesses will not reopen.

“We need to factor in that we may never return to pre-COVID-19 conditions again and once this lockdown is over there could be another similar scenario just around the corner.

“We need to be prepared for change. There will be post pandemic opportunities and we must position ourselves to capitalise on these by looking at new and different options and building future sustainability.

“We don’t have any magic answers, but we want local business owners to know we are working behind the scenes and will help as much as we can.”

“While we don’t know when we will move from Alert Level 4, it is important our businesses are prepared to reopen and have the support of the community behind them.

“Once it is business as usual it is then important people shop locally. Before you consider buying something from out of town, stop and think, can I buy this locally? We need to support our local retailers and shop locally to enable them to be there for us when we need them. 

“In Wairoa much of our business is centred around primary industry.

“It is fantastic to see the Government acknowledging our food providers as ‘essential’ as for years these primary producers have not been recognised for what they bring to the table.

“Locally our iwi have already been working to gauge the business situation and to work out how best we can position ourselves to come out the other side. We are very fortunate to have an engaged forward-thinking iwi which has been instrumental in initiatives that will form part of our recovery post-pandemic.”

Mr Little said the Wairoa District Council is working on a raft of ‘shovel ready’ projects and is submitting applications totalling millions of dollars to Central Government funding platforms to kick start our economy once this viral nightmare is over.

“We are also working with the other Hawke’s Bay Councils to bring economic growth to the region post-pandemic.”

16 April 2020

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