Auckland CBD firms lost $110m in spending during Level 4: business association

Source: 1News

Businesses in Auckland's city centre lost about $110 million in consumer spending during the most recent Alert Level 4 lockdown period, a business association estimates.

The region just had 34 days of its biggest lockdown yet.

Heart of The City said each customer-facing business had lost about $85,000. 

The millions of dollars in lost spending when compared to 2019 figures showed Auckland CBD businesses urgently needed support from the Government, Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said. 

“What more evidence is needed that Auckland and its city centre are facing a disproportionate impact from Covid-19? Business and sector groups like ours have been calling for targeted support for a very long time and it’s needed now.  

“These are not just numbers, they represent thousands of hard-working people, their staff, their families, their health - sympathy for Auckland must be backed up with tangible support.”

She called for the Government to be more proactive and give businesses as much certainty as possible, including what financial support it would be offering at Alert Level 2. 

Beck said it was “too late” for businesses to have to wait for the next scheduled alert level announcement for Auckland on October 4.

“The figures quoted for the Auckland economy as a whole do not reflect the reality for many businesses. The city centre has a diverse mix of businesses, many of whom can operate successfully remotely and there are some very good news stories amongst them.  

“However, many can’t, and the impacts are very severe.”

Beck said businesses needed to have easier access to capital. 

Heart of The City pointed to a proposal economist Dr Richard Meade made last year for businesses to be able to access “ Covid loans ”, in addition to a suite of other support options. 

“The concept is similar to the student loan scheme, which sees businesses being able to access funding that they need but with much more manageable repayment obligations than regular loans,” Beck said.

“This means businesses are able to cover a wider range of outgoings than just their wage costs and a small fraction of other overheads.”