Green Party Stands Up for Retail and Hospitality Businesses

Retail NZ and Hospitality NZ have welcomed the support of the Green Party with two Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs) on the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill, that enables tenants and landlords to negotiate adjustments in rent due during Levels 3 and 4.

“The Green party has heard the issues of businesses across the country loud and clear. Businesses need the proposed changes to the Property Act on commercial leases to be backdated to cover the impact of the full lockdown period. We thank Chloe Swarbrick MP for understanding the impact a change to the legislation start date will make for retailers,” said Greg Harford Chief Executive of Retail NZ.

“Approximately 70 percent of retailers have sought rent relief, and around half are still in dispute with their landlord on rent issues. We estimate that up to one-third of the sector do not have a clause like this in commercial leases. The amendments proposed by the Green Party are a game changer for many retailers in their negotiations for rent relief.”

Hospitality NZ Chief Executive, Julie White added that as soon as the country enters a lockdown, the impacts on the hospitality sector are immediate, with both zero revenue and stock losses hitting the bottom line. That’s why the ability to negotiate during the recent Level 3 and 4 periods across the country is critical.

“Backdating the proposed changes of Clause 9, Schedule 6, of the Property Act allows negotiations for rent relief to include the period with the most financial impact.”

Retail NZ and Hospitality NZ are calling on all political parties to do the right thing and support backdating the changes to commercial leases in the Property Act during votes in Parliament today. Supporting the backdating to either 18 August 2021 or going further to 25 March 2020 will allow retail and hospitability tenants to come to agreements to adjust rents due.

The Green Party has proposed two changes to the Property Act within the COVID-19 Response (Management Measures) Legislation Bill, these Supplementary Order Papers can be found here and here.