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Financial support for business is at hand

03 April 2020

It's the end of the first full week of the national lockdown and Coromandel's business community has been turned upside down by COVID-19, with non-essential businesses closed or working from home.

We're hearing our local businesses are feeling bewildered and many are still in response-mode to the abrupt changes of recent weeks.

A big concern for some is the time lag to receive the Government's wage subsidy scheme, with some waiting as long as 10 days for the money to arrive, although most that have applied have received it. The advice is to be patient, as the money will arrive anywhere between two and six working days.

Mercury Bay Business Association chairman Milan Lukic says not having an Easter sales period will have a big impact on local businesses. 

Those that will be the hardest hit in Mercury Bay are accommodation providers that cater to offshore visitors, tour operators and businesses in the hospitality sector, he says.

"Everyone is hanging in there right now. The shock is starting to fade," Mr Lukic says. "Now, it's about planning for the weeks ahead and into the future."

Enterprise Whangamata chairman Denis Beaver says the business community seems to be very quiet, with many taking a wait-and-see approach as to when restrictions will be lifted.

"We won't know more until the end of the lockdown, and right now we don't even know when that will be. It will be a long month," Mr Beaver says. 

All hands on deck as Te Waka offers support 

Our Council is working closely with Te Waka, the Waikato region's economic development agency, which is providing advice, mentoring and practical support to help our communities get through this period.

The Te Waka team is also in direct communication with central government and keeping it informed of the ways COVID-19 is impacting our economy.

Te Waka recently surveyed Waikato businesses to find out the types of support our local businesses need, and where. Responses were received from 334 businesses across a wide range of sectors, with 13 per cent coming from the Coromandel. Note - the survey was conducted while the country was at Level 2 response, not the current Level 4.

The top immediate impacts from COVID-19:
Loss of sales (69%)
Reduction of customers (68%)
Short-term cashflow (55%)
Ongoing financial viability (47%)
Staff wellbeing (40%)
Local staff being underutilised (21%)

And these are the top three needs for support:
Finance and cashflow
Business continuity planning
Business strategy planning for post COVID-19

Free, online workshop sessions outlined below are tailored to meet some of these needs.

Our Council's economic development team is here to support and connect you with the help and funds available. Call 07 868 0200 or email customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz to get in touch.

We are also working in with lots of partners such as local business associations, Destination Coromandel and the Waikato Mayoral Forum to support businesses and prepare for recovery when restrictions are lifted. Stay up-to-date with developments at tcdc.govt.nz/supportlocal

Waikato Mayoral Forum COVID-19 response focuses on economic stimulus

This week Waikato mayors, Council chief executives, Members of Parliamant, iwi leaders and other regional powerbrokers met (via teleconference)  to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on our region and ways to kick-start our economic recovery when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The forum will continue this discussion, weekly, during the lockdown period, to form a united and cohesive 'Waikato' approach, which will be crucial in leveraging central government support for initiatives, on behalf of the region.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson, who chairs the forum, said work was underway to identify "shovel-ready" projects, worth more than $10 million, that would be ready to go within six months and that would conribute to substantial stimuls to the local economy and create jobs.

"After looking after the wellbeing of our people and fulfilling our crucial civil defence duties, our attention turns to coordinating which major projects we can 'hit go' on to get our economy back on track. This is what the private sector is looking for too, they want to see our pipeline of projects so they can get prepared and buy the necessary equipment," Mr Sanson said.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie was part of the meeting and said the united 'Waikato' approach was important as we prepare for a broad response to the crisis.

"Our Council is on board and we're compiling a list of district projects that we hope will fit the criteria," Mayor Sandra said.

Join Te Waka's COVID-19 online workshops

e Waka has partnered with local business experts to make the following online workshop sessions available, free, over the next three weeks.

Cashflow in a crisis hosted by KPMG

  • 11am Tuesday, April 7
  • 11am Tuesday, April 14
  • 11am Tuesday, April 21

Human resources hosted by Everest

  • 11am Wednesday April 8
  • 11am Wednesday April 15
  • 11am Wednesday April 22

Business continuity hosted by Business Success Partners and Phil Wicks

  • 11am Thursday April 9

Details on how to join a webinar are available on tewaka.nz or on the Te Waka Facebook page

Te Waka business advisory goes online

Te Waka's business advisors are available to provide free business advice during COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions and are now booking meeting slots via video conferencing tool Zoom. Advisors can also talk by phone if that's preferred.

Advisors can offer assistance in cashflow management and finance, human resources, health and wellness and business continuity planning and any other areas of need. They will refer business owners to helpful resources including where to go for government assistance. 

To secure a slot visit tewaka.nz or call Te Waka on 07 857 0538 or email businessgrowth@tewaka.nz

If you're new to Zoom, it's a simple-to-use, free, video conferencing platform. When you make contact, a Te Waka business advisor will email you a Zoom meeting request to set up the video conference appointment.

More information is available at tewaka.nz

Support local initiatives

We'd love to hear more about what local Coromandel businesses are doing over this time to get through, and help with any additional promotion and marketing.

Check out the Coromandel Distilling Co, which has turned its attention to public health, launching an alcohol antiseptic hand sanitiser, in collaboration with Thames artist Fatu Feu'u. 

The sanitiser is MPI-approved essential business and it's PPE-registered with Manufacturing NZ.

Bulk orders can be placed at info@corodc.com or you can buy it at the Re Store Eco Market on Pollen St, Thames.

Visit tcdc.govt.nz/supportlocal for more examples of local businesses that have adapted their services online or have come up with an innovative way to collaborate or adapt during this season.

If you've got a story to share, contact georgina.bond@tcdc.govt.nz

Useful links for business

• Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place here

• Information on the Governnment's wage subsidy scheme, including how to apply and other support for business can be found at govt.nz/coronavirus or business.govt.nz

• The Ministry of Health website remains the best site for up-to-date Covid-19 health-related information.

• Covid 19: Information for business   This page brings together government information relating to Covid-19, how it may affect your business and how you can stay up-to-date as new information becomes available.

Information for employers considering redundancies

• Employment New Zealand: Workplace responses to Covid-19

• Information on the Government’s $12.1 billion support package for New Zealanders and business can be found here.

Ministry of Social Development

Inland Revenue

Mental Health Foundation

• Information for exporters can be found here