Latest News & Public Notices

Supporting Coromandel businesses during COVID-19

27 March 2020

It’s been a tumultuous week, seeing us now in a state of national emergency and a ‘lockdown’ for the next month, at least.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert level 4 restrictions have changed the economic picture for our district completely and the impact on our local businesses has been immense as we all stay home (except those providing essential services).

Our Council is here to support you. Our thoughts are with you, your staff and your families during this very difficult time.

We’ve checked-in with our local business associations and we are hearing many business owners have had their heads down this week, closing the doors and getting themselves and their households prepared for the lockdown period we’re now in.

So the focus of this newsletter today is just to offer some guidance and advice to connect you up with the help that’s available.  

We may be isolated from each other, but we are all in this together as a Thames-Coromandel community and we will get through this season.

Call our business emergency helpdesk

Our Council’s economic development team is here to help business owners who need direction, support and connections to help navigate this period of uncertainty.

Call our customer services line on 07 868 0200 or email customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz to be linked up with our economic development team.

Support local

We’re hearing examples of businesses that are adapting their offerings online. Some examples are in the health and fitness space, where groups such as the Thames Dance Co and several yoga studios have moved their classes online. 

SOS Café is a nationwide scheme offering café and restaurant vouchers online, which can be redeemed when business resumes. This was set up this week to help keep these businesses afloat during the lockdown restrictions.  

Creative Coromandel is looking at innovative ways to support Thames, Coromandel-Hauraki artists and arts organisations. In the first instance, it has made He Mana Toi Moehau Trust’s online meeting platform Zoom available, free. Contact Creative Coromandel info.creativecoromandel@gmail.com or via its Facebook page for more information.

Let us know about local collaboration initiatives emerging and we will share these on tcdc.govt.nz/supportlocal

We’re also working with local business associations, Destination Coromandel and Te Waka to put plans in place to support local businesses throughout this phase of this COVID-19 crisis and as we come out the other side. We will keep you updated on developments at tcdc.govt.nz/supportlocal

 A health crisis with economic implications

Earlier this week, economics consultancy Infometrics provided an update on the economic implications of the COVID-10 health crisis.

Here are some of the insights shared, but keep in mind, data in this space keeps changing as the pandemic deepens.

  • Broadly speaking, Infometrics was this week expecting a relatively large economic hit from COVID-19, with a year's worth of economic decline before we see the start of the recovery.
  • Tourism, accommodation and hopitality industries are among the hardest hit and will take some time to recover. While the international tourism market has ground to a halt, the question will be how quickly the domestic market can rebound once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Encouraging Kiwis to explore their own backyard will be vital to support this.
  • The best case scenario is where the hit to economic growth is short and sharp, and where New Zealand can get in front of the pandemic and power out of it.
  • National unemployment statistics are expected to sharply rise from an average 4.1 per cent to around 10-11 per cent by the end of 2020. (The unemployment rate for Thames-Coromandel has been much lower than the national average, at 2.6 per cent at the end of 2019.)
  • We can be certain, next month's Infometrics' quarterly economic monitor for the Thames-Coromandel economy will be vastly different from the track we have been on.

First steps: What can I do to support my business today?

Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency, Te Waka, has provided the following information to help business owners be proactive and reach out:

1. Look into the Wage Subsidy Scheme and other support available under the government’s COVID-19 Financial Support package and apply immediately if you are eligible.

2. Review your cash forecast for the next 4-5 months, develop best, medium and worst case scenarios. Understand where there are opportunities to improve your cash conversion cycle. These actions may include;

  • Politely collect any funds that are owed to you and where possible consider shortening payment terms. Your customers are likely to also be experiencing impacts on their business which may impact on yours if they aren’t able to pay you.
  • Converting inventory/stock to cash through sales promotions.
  • Negotiating payment terms with suppliers and cancelling any orders of parts or goods that you don’t believe you can convert to cash quickly.
  • Talk with key parties such as your lenders and investors to negotiate access to funding and lending facilities.
  • Have early discussions with IRD, landlords and other key parties including critical suppliers to negotiate supply terms, payment plans and payment holidays. To this end, take a look at the business cashflow and tax measures that IRD has established.
  • Reduce non-critical spending but be mindful of the impact on reducing staff numbers if those staff are critical to your business post-crisis. Consider other measures for critical staff such as reduction in hours, bringing forward annual leave or a temporary reduction in remuneration. With a pandemic, think about how you will have coverage during periods of sickness.
  • Defer non-critical capital expenditure that can be delayed.
  • Continuing to identify the risks in your supply chain including; availability of raw materials, parts and goods; restrictions on transportation of raw materials, parts and goods; financial stability of the supplier (particularly around critical infrastructure such as IT); alternative sources of supply

Te Waka offers free business support services. Reach a business advisors on 07 857 0538 or businessgrowth@tewaka.co.nz and they can offer an ear, advice and connect you with the right help. More information is available at tewaka.nz

Other useful links for business

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

• 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