NZ speaks out: Targeted support for the hospitality sector still required

Extending the Wage Subsidy was commended by Hospitality New Zealand, however, the association says it’s disappointing as it fails to recognise how critically the hospitality sector has been affected.

While Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, did make reference to the hospitality and retail sectors being the most likely to be impacted by Level 3 and Level 2 restrictions, no targeted support or additional funding was released from its $14 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery relief fund. 

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White says, “The Government needs to do more than this. In our sector, Level 3 is the equivalent of closing down for many operators and sadly, we will lose several of our small businesses. The scheme in its current form is too narrow and doesn’t account for the cost of shutting down operations or pivoting to ensure they can explore ancillary revenue streams.

We support the actions of the Government to stop the spread, but this will significantly impact the path many were on towards finding a ‘new normal.’ We appreciate that access to the Wage Subsidy has been nationwide, as it does address some of the knock-on effects of locking down our most populous city.

“We had just seen a glimmer of hope and we’re finding our feet again, but the impact of this second wave has been detrimental to some. Particularly operators within the accommodation sector, where millions of dollars were lost within hours of Auckland going into Level 3.”  

Data released by Statistics NZ earlier this month showed optimism returning to the sector, as retail card spending within hospitality hit the strongest level for a July month since data was recorded – up 5.9 percent to $62 million at the same time last year. 

“We need targeted sector support urgently. The hospitality industry is one of the main cogs in the economic engine room supporting New Zealand. It circulates dollars quickly, keeps people in employment and provides places to connect and assists with Kiwis’ wellbeing and social interactions,” concludes White.  

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