Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Retail NZ’s Radar Report makes for grim reading


“More than two thirds of retailers being unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the Government’s Response to COVID-19 should be a massive wake-up call to Jacinda Ardern and her Government,” says ACT’s Small Business spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“The results of those who are unsatisfied with the Government in Retail NZ’s Radar Report have gone from 29 per cent three months ago to 69 per cent now.

“And it’s no wonder. Uncertainty is the worst environment you can create for business.

“We need a plan. ACT is calling for the Resurgence Payments to be weekly under Level 4, Level 3 and for hospitality under Level 2.

“More than a third of retailers are unsure they’ll survive the next year. 

“Sadly, there’s even more pain on the way for businesses with an additional public holiday, compulsory unionism by stealth, paid parent teacher interview leave and minimum wage increases.

“ACT would:

  1. Recognise that eradication no longer stacks up. We must move to a policy of harm minimisation. This policy should aim to reduce transmission, hospitalisation, and death from COVID at the least possible cost of overall wellbeing.
  2. Move from isolating whole cities to isolating only those who it makes sense to isolate. Personal isolation should be restricted to three groups: those who are medically vulnerable and require special protection, those who have recently arrived in New Zealand and are privately isolating, and those who have tested positive as part of widespread surveillance testing.
  3. Move from chronic fear and uncertainty and get on a clear path to restoring freedom. We should settle when the vaccine rollout is ‘complete’ and aim to get Kiwis home for Christmas.
  4. Move from a ‘government knows best’ approach to an approach of openness, and host all in ‘sprints’. In each sprint, the business community and all of society are invited to help reach clearly identified goals of lower transmission rates, hospitalisations and deaths, in time for reopening.
  5. The entire tone of New Zealand’s COVID response should shift from fear and a singular focus on public health to a focus on maximising overall wellbeing.

“ACT is calling on the Government to give businesses a break, get the right people around the table and listen to what is needed. We're tired on the spin, we need some substance."