All three Wairarapa district councils are putting measures in place to ensure ongoing support for local retailers and service providers during lockdown. They say helping local businesses now will help speed up the recovery of the local economy once Alert Level 4 has been lifted.
The three Councils – South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton – are endeavouring to implement practical changes, such as paying suppliers weekly or fortnightly, instead of monthly, to create cash flow to help Wairarapa businesses make it through the next few weeks.
Businesses have also been advised to reach out to Councils if they are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to pay rates.
In addition, the Councils are all looking to progress their own specific medium to large-scale projects in the short term, so that local contractors have a supply of work ready to tackle post-lockdown.
South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen says local businesses are the life blood of the local economy and supporting them through these uncertain times is crucial if we want to see Wairarapa bounce back quickly.
“Business operators are enduring a rough ride of uncertainty at the moment, particularly those who do not fall within the essential services category and who have had to close their doors. We empathise with them and want to offer reassurance that they are not alone and have not been forgotten.”
Carterton Mayor Greg Lang adds that the councils are also actively encouraging their respective communities to support local suppliers.
“The ‘buy local’ message is a really important one for maintaining a strong local economy. It will become increasingly vital once we are out of lockdown and look to getting back up on our feet again.
“We are encouraging residents to support the ‘Love Local’ Wairarapa campaign devised by Destination Wairarapa, as well as voucher initiatives such as: Shop it Forward NZ and SOS Café, whereby residents can buy a voucher now for their favourite shop, hairdresser, café or restaurant and redeem it later.”
The three Councils are also keen to impress upon business owners and operators that there is additional support available.
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson urges Wairarapa businesses to contact their local business association for advice and support, and to take a look at the government COVID-19 website (www.covid19.govt.nz).
“The cross-government COVID-19 website contains a whole host of information about financial support for businesses and individuals. It includes the wage subsidy scheme, which has been designed to help businesses survive the short-term.
“We all value our local businesses and want each and every one of them to get through this tricky time. We are all in this together so let’s help each other by buying local as much as we can.”