The New Zealand National Party has released a plan to support the country’s battered tourism, hospitality and events sectors in the wake of continued Covid restrictions.
“Our Back in Business plan contains a package of urgent measures to ensure businesses survive the next 12 months, and includes a clear, detailed strategy to update our approach and unleash our economy,” said National’s spokesperson for Tourism and Small Business Todd McClay.
“Tourism and hospitality businesses need support and certainty. They have been left to fend for themselves and are now desperate.
“Today we have announced a package of initiatives to assist small businesses in the tourism, hospitality and events sectors. These range from tax relief to an extension of the wage subsidy, and include three initiatives targeted specifically at these important sectors.”
The plan includes an insurance scheme to allow major events to be planned with confidence that lockdowns won’t result in significant financial losses for organisers, customers or suppliers.
Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) has welcomed the plan, with chief executive Lisa Hopkins saying the Arden Government rejected an industry-led proposal to support the NZ$1.5 million premium cost, either directly or through the Regional Events fund, for a NZ$20 million policy cover.
“We had been working on this proposal with our partners EventCover since the end of last year and were able to negotiate with Lloyds, however, the idea was rejected by the Government,” she said.
“I am pleased to see National’s wider plan today, which acknowledges the devastation this sector has felt.”
The National’s proposal would see a NZ$50 million fund to allow major events, such as festivals and concerts going ahead with confidence, avoiding the significant financial losses incurred by organisers, customers and suppliers.
“Additionally, it would support the business events sector, through the proposal developed by BEIA and EventCover, by retargeting the Regional Events fund,” Hopkins said.
“Ultimately, we want to see the events industry supported in a way which offers confidence. Our proposal was about postponing events, not cancelling them, to give suppliers, attendees and communities certainty, and to enable money to continue to circulate.
“The business events sector has lost 78 percent of its value since Covid. Despite this, many businesses have stayed open, albeit with significantly reduced staff and – for the small businesses – off the back of investments and savings.
“These are businesses which deserve to survive, thrive and receive the respect of all political parties for their tenacity and endurance.”