Auckland Only Business Support a Slap in the Face
Written by John Grant on February 8, 2023
Businesses, trading across the Coromandel Peninsula, particularly those relying on tourism and hospitality, have been dealt another blow.
For some, this time it could be terminal. It was not the weather, instead on this occasion it is Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who virtually ignored the plight of Coromandel Peninsula’s economy while offering storm relief to Auckland today.
With Coromandel Peninsula missing from the announcement, other than through potentially having interest charges for businesses waived on late tax payments, for many the Prime Minister displayed that attempts by community leaders to engage with Government had failed.
Coromandel and Opposition Member of Parliament, Scott Simpson, did not hold back saying the fact that Coromandel was not included in the $5 million relief package for Auckland, was a slap in the face for Coromandel businesspeople, and a slap in the face for the entire region.
Scott said: “While Auckland had suffered from the recent heavy weather event, so had the Coromandel – while they (businesses) were not flooded, they were cut off by slip covered roads and also the long-term closure of State Highway 25A”.
Over recent days CFM has approached a number of businesses across the region to judge the impact of storms which extend back to November last year.
Many retail businesses enjoyed a strong build-up to the holiday season some reporting record turnover. That was two months ago and now the entire picture has changed with shops reporting trading being down on average between 30 and 70 percent, some tourism-based businesses have advised Scott that they have had zero revenue this year.
One leading Thames business operator told CFM he was already trading as though it was winter and as a result, he had stopped hiring staff.
Business communities have been looking for support internally, and for collective strength, with a number of meetings having been arranged to discuss their plight.
In Coromandel, Chris Fulford of CILT, posted that now would be a good time to establish a Coromandel Colville business association. He was immediately supported by a number of local businesses, a meeting date was set and a hall booked.
Sheree Webster from Top 10 at Hot Water Beach is another who has called for representatives of community organisations and business groups to meet later this month and discuss long term solutions to infrastructure failures.
She is supported by the Mercury Bay Business Association which has also been meeting to consider its options.
The Thames Business Association is due to make an announcement on a proposal for the Thames business community.
“Coromandel was specifically excluded from the $5 million package extended to Auckland business – I think it is appalling,” said Scott.
“The best thing we can do right at this minute is support our local businesses, they need our help and support like they have never needed it before.”