Covid 19 Delta outbreak: National’s rescue package for hospo, tourism, small business

National would give fully vaccinated adults a $100 voucher to spend at any hospitality, accommodation, or tourism business in the country over the next six months to support the devastated sectors.

The party has today released a plan, ‘Back in Business’,which contains a package of urgent measures to ensure businesses survive the next 12 months, and what it says is a clear, detailed strategy to update our approach and unleash our economy.

Tourism and small business spokesman Todd McClay said hospitality, events and tourism businesses have been some of the hardest hit by Covid-19 restrictions, with multiple lockdowns, capacity restrictions, social distancing requirements and the loss of international and domestic tourism.

The Government said on Monday it would announce on Friday more measures to support businesses hard hit after a border failure resulted in the Delta outbreak in August.

McClay said tourism and hospitality businesses needed support and certainty.

”They have been left to fend for themselves and are now desperate.”

The package of initiatives to help small businesses in the tourism, hospitality and events sector range from tax relief and an extension of the wage subsidy and include three initiatives targeted specifically at these important sectors.

They include:

• Distribute $100 “dine and discover” vouchers to every vaccinated adult 18 years and over to support hospitality, accommodation and tourism.

“National would provide a shot in the arm for these struggling sectors by encouraging Kiwis to get out and support their local businesses through a ‘dine and discover’ vouchers system. This scheme would boost revenue, support local businesses and keep people in jobs providing urgent support when it is most needed.”

A similar scheme – without the vaccination requirement – was popular when introduced in Britain last year.

•Allow restaurants and bars to extend their outdoor seating.Labour’s level 2 social distancing rules and capacity limits on restaurants, bars and events venues have meant many good businesses are no longer sustainable, McClay said.

“We would let hospitality businesses extend outdoor seating into public spaces wherever safe and practical for the next six months (overriding council bylaws if these are an impediment.”

• Establish an insurance scheme for major events to help the industry which has suffered significantly from the sudden imposition of lockdowns, and the lack of a plan on when alert level changes will be made.

“Disappointingly Labour rejected an industry-led insurance scheme earlier this year which would have provided $20m to the events businesses when they put New Zealand back into Level 4 restrictions. These businesses are out of pocket because of the Government’s short-sightedness.”

The insurance scheme would allow major events to be planned with confidence that lockdowns won’t result in significant financial losses for organisers, customers or suppliers.

If in power the party would retarget unspent money from the Regional Events Fund to help events businesses directly.

It would work to support the events sector’s own initiative for a similar scheme for smaller events and businesses.

“Before Covid-19 tourism was our largest export earner worth $41 billion to the New Zealand economy, and employing more than 400,000 people,” McClay said.

“Tourism, hospitality and events businesses have been badly affected by Covid-19. If they are to contribute to New Zealand’s rebuild then we need them to survive. National calls upon the Labour government to adopt this plan and support these important Kiwis and their businesses.”

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