Wellington businesses need earthquake support

A Government support package for earthquake-affected Wellington businesses is absolutely vital, the Green Party said today.

More than 100 small and medium businesses are reportedly still affected by the earthquakes, with discussions ongoing between the Government and Wellington City Council around possible support measures.

“Our city’s diverse small businesses are a key part of what makes it great and they need support to get through this,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“Wellington’s economic muscle might be the public sector departments but the city’s heart is its small businesses.

“We’re about to hit peak Christmas shopping season, when our smaller retail shops would normally be expecting to increase turnover and even take on extra staff, but some will likely be unable to because of the effects of the earthquakes.

“The world-class hospitality businesses our city is famous for, run on tight budgets and won’t be able to cover staff wages for long.

“Many people who work in hospitality and retail won’t have employment protections for this kind of situation, so the Government should guarantee their wages for a fixed period.

“Businesses and staff who’ve been working hard all year don’t deserve to fail just before Christmas because of a natural disaster.

“The smaller shops, cafes, and restaurants can’t be expected to have the kind of disaster continuity plans that big businesses have.

“My door is always open to local Wellington businesspeople but, ultimately, this kind of support needs to be Government-led,” Mr Shaw said.

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