The Auckland hospitality industry will be left wanting this summer as they are excluded from the government’s Auckland summer reactivation budget.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled a $37.5 million recovery fund for Auckland, which includes 100,000 tickets to local attractions and facilities. Developed alongside Auckland Council, the fund is intended to revive economic, social and cultural activities across the city over summer and help those in hardship.
“We are absolutely crushed for our Auckland businesses that have been closed for months on end and are left with nothing in this package. They may as well just call the campaign ‘explore Tāmaki Makaurau minus hospitality’ this summer,” expressed Restaurant Association of NZ CEO, Marisa Bidois.
“For 475 days we have been calling for targeted support, yet every call has fallen on deaf ears. In September this year we released a suite of targeted support package options for the Government to consider. Included in this was Dine & Discover NZ, a voucher scheme which is eerily similar to today’s announcement.
“In preparing our proposals on international voucher schemes we have conducted research in the UK and Australia and the feedback from the hospitality community has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s about increasing demand and building the confidence with consumers, and we feel strongly that including hospitality in this scheme would absolutely do that.”
Bidois added that it is another kick in the guts for an industry that has been brought to its knees.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had more support from the public through this pandemic than the government and we are deeply grateful for the public support we have received as an industry,” she continued.
“Annually this industry contributes more than $12 billion to the economy and yet this Government seems determined to watch us crumble from afar. During the announcement it was said ‘businesses need new customers’, hospitality businesses don’t need new customers - they need customers full stop.”