Column by Simon Bridges, Chief Executive Officer of the Auckland Chamber of Business
With the unprecedented flooding wreaking havoc for many Auckland businesses, business associations, including the Auckland Business Chamber, met with the Mayor, Minister of Finance, Minister of Economic Development, and local and central government agencies. It was a productive, solutions-focused meeting that provided the confidence in Auckland’s official emergency response to the floods.
Financial assistance to businesses suffering from a decline in short-term cashflow due to the floods was discussed and it’s clear, the Mayoral Relief Fund would be the vehicle for any respite. The use of such a fund is a well-worn path from other emergencies, and it allows discretion and flexibility due to the changing nature of what is needed each day.
My hope? That any support wouldn’t be needed for long. The main challenges are damages from the weather, timeframes to get insurance - and in some cases, a lack of insurance - and loss of incomes. Businesses with substantial damage will find it hard to land tradespeople to repair premises -it will all take time.
Understandably, businesses will remain anxious until the extreme weather conditions subside. The cost of the deluge – both insured and uninsured – we’re yet to fully grasp, but it will be enormous. Hard times will be ahead.
The country needs the affected Auckland and Upper North Island businesses back on their feet as soon as possible. This must be a team effort where everyone steps up and plays their part. This doesn’t just fall on government’s shoulders. Insurance companies and our banks must also lead. It’s been great to see strong policies around assistance already coming out from some banks. Our SMEs will need this wrap around support.
Please know, the Auckland Business Chamber is here to help provide support to business experiencing vulnerability. Please get in touch with us for any relief you may need.
Thank you to everyone out in droves working to keep us safe and sound.