We’re pleased to see that the government has listened to our calls for an extension to the wage subsidy. We know this will be hugely welcomed by members where many of you are only just getting back into your businesses and are not trading at anywhere near normal capacity. It will be a welcome relief, under very challenging circumstances.
However, we were disappointed that there was not a lot of focus on business support in the Budget. We would have liked to see working capital grants of around $25,000 provided to small and medium businesses or assistance specifically for lease costs – we have been calling for both.
We will be looking forward to hearing more about the Tourism Recovery fund and how this impacts our industry and very interested to learn more about the investment in trade and apprenticeships. We also thought it was good to see grants for online tech development for small businesses and also trial digital platforms to enable other novel solutions to connect food with consumers.
Summarised below are the main areas that we think impact hospo:
- Targeted extension of the wage subsidy scheme: from June 10, businesses that have suffered, or expect to suffer, revenue loss of at least 50 per cent for the 30-day period prior to the application date, versus the nearest comparable period last year, will be eligible for the extension of the scheme.
- $400 million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund: this Fund enables the Government to deliver various support mechanisms to the industry under one umbrella, including a domestic tourism campaign, and further domestic activity. This will roll out shortly.
- New Zealand Futures Tourism Taskforce: This public-private taskforce will lead the thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand. It will consist of cross-government and tourism sector representatives and will prioritise the current and future issues that will shape and impact tourism, and lead recommendations on further policy and regulatory reform in the sector.
- Tourism Recovery Ministers Group: This will be established to oversee the Tourism Recovery Package, and the tourism industry’s recovery. Group members are expected to include Ministers of Tourism, Finance, Māori Development, Conservation, and the Under Secretary of Regional Economic Development.
- $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package: to invest in training and education for people who might have lost their jobs, or who want to move into a different sector where prospects are better. The package will provide opportunities for New Zealanders of all ages to receive trades training.
- Establishment of Workforce Development Councils: to strategically plan for the recovery of industries and jobs from the impact of COVID-19. Industry skills leadership will be vital in order to address the profound impact of COVID-19 on the labour market and education systems. The intention is to establish the councils in the second half of 2020 so that they can begin to provide the crucial industry leadership to support the COVID-19 recovery.
- Establishment of Regional Skills Leadership Groups: give industry and regions a greater voice and help them respond to COVID-19. These groups will provide a valuable source of on-the-ground, more timely intelligence about regional labour market disruption resulting from COVID-19, and also highlight particular areas within the community that may need particular focus for recovery efforts, such as Māori, youth, Pacific peoples and women.
- Fruit and vegetable boxes and digital sales platforms for food producers: due to COVID-19, food supply chains and food retailers have been disrupted, causing problems with access to food and risking food waste. This initiative provides funding to purchase primary produce and distribute it to those in need, scale up Fruit in Schools to deliver an additional 100,000 fruit and vegetable boxes to children over 10 weeks, and develop and trial digital platforms to enable other novel solutions to connect food with consumers.