Wednesday, 21st July, 2021

Dear Member

Even with the absence of the Australian influx, it's been great to see all the people on the streets over these school holidays.  I am sure whole suburbs of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch must be very empty...

While a lot of people are taking the opportunity of the school holidays to have some fun, we have been hard at work...
The last couple of weeks have been very government relations heavy for us, and we were particularly pleased to see our efforts on the Immigration front rewarded with the Minister's announcement last week.  There is still much to do and part of our efforts in conveying our local challenges, and how generalised policy approaches don't necessarily work for us, included our Chair Angela Spackman, board member Jo Finnigan and I having breakfast with Minister Kris Faafoi last Friday morning.

We stressed the importance of our migrant community, the huge impact to our businesses when staff are dealing with uncertainty and unable to make long term plans, and that many of them have been with us through thick and thin and are integral parts of our community.  We canvassed the option of private MIQ facilities and the importance for businesses to understand the Government's plans.  We acknowledged there are good intentions around workforce planning for the region and New Zealand. As well as discussed what we are endeavouring to get off the ground locally, but stressed that these are not overnight fixes in a small country where everyone is facing the same challenges.  A recent NZIER report has identified it's the hardest time to get staff in New Zealand since 2004 and we are experiencing the highest amount of staff churn since 1973.  

We also met with DPMC (Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) representatives along with some of our major businesses and senior DHB (District Health Board) reps, as part of their engagement prior to a local response planning session led by DPMC.  The key messages arising were the Government is working on an economic opening plan for release in August, and that scanning is our key tool in minimising the likelihood of an alert level change (the higher degree of certainty around where a case has been and the ability to locate and isolate key contacts is literally the difference between an alert level change and not). Along with the arrival of new vaccine supplies and the ability to vaccinate through large businesses, and with this we should be able to get through the district well before the current national target date.

We will be working with DPMC and the DHB to get additional information and supporting collateral to you as soon as it comes in.

Alongside this, the team have also continued to deliver our ever popular BA5 event and working with entrants for this year's Business Awards.  If you are still thinking about it, or know of someone who should be recognised, let us know!

Lastly, we know and appreciate that outside of COVID, there are many challenges with being in business, not the least of which are contending with all the law changes and navigating what business support there might be out there for you. See our 'Tips For Business' below for a round up of this year's changes and don't forget if you haven't already, Friday is the last day to get your resurgence support application in.

Thank you for all your ongoing support and commitment to our amazing slice of NZ.

Take care