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Source: Auckland Council

Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the government’s support package for Auckland businesses affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns and says the new COVID-19 Protection Framework and vaccination targets, as well as targeted support to increase Māori vaccination rates, will provide more certainty and clear goals for reducing restrictions as we head into summer.

Business support package

“Auckland has been under lockdown for longer than any other region in New Zealand and while the restrictions are necessary to help keep us all safe from the virus, it has been tough for a lot of people and for many businesses,” Mayor Goff says.

“I welcome the government’s support package, which has been worked up in collaboration with business leaders, as a significant step in the right direction. Doubling the rate of the Resurgence Support Payment will help many businesses cope until they are able to resume more normal operations at a lower level of restrictions. It will help keep businesses alive and people in work.

“Auckland businesses that can’t operate normally—or at all—under the current restrictions are struggling. I have advocated strongly to the government for more financial support for otherwise viable businesses that might not survive further lockdown extensions.

“The $60 million package for business advice and mental health support in Auckland is in response to business requests and will help businesses adapt to the changing conditions as we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 response in Auckland.

“The support package announced today is substantial. Around 70 per cent of the $940 million being spent each fortnight under this package will benefit Auckland businesses. It will help ease the difficulties businesses in our city are facing and help them get to the next stage of the pandemic response once vaccination rates are high enough.

“Low-income households whose incomes have been affected are also suffering the effects of lockdown. I welcome the additional flexibility and support that will be available to single people and families who will be eligible for hardship assistance.

“Some have asked for New Zealand to follow the UK model and lift restrictions on business further and faster. The health effects of such an approach would, according to research, lead to potentially thousands of cases and scores of deaths in our communities each week.

“The government’s approach eases restrictions while protecting people’s health, ensuring that our hospital system does not crumble under the weight of rapidly increasing case numbers.”

COVID-19 Protection Framework

“The new framework sets a clear goal for us to get 90 per cent of Aucklanders double vaccinated and it contains powerful incentives for people to get vaccinated if they want to enjoy the freedoms that others are enjoying.  

“It reduces the reliance on lockdowns, which have damaging effects on our economy and restrict the way in which we want to live.

“All of us would like to have absolute certainty around the timeframe for getting back to normality. However, our progress will rely on getting people vaccinated so the transition happens safely and some flexibility is needed to ensure that is the case.

“Vaccination is the key to us being able to enjoy enhanced freedoms and being able to enjoy our summer together,” Mayor Goff says.

Targeted support for Māori vaccination and Māori health response

Manukau Councillor Alf Filipaina says, “The government’s $120 million package to boost Māori vaccination rates is a clear signal that the government understands Māori are best equipped to lead the vaccine effort in their community. It will help communities prepare for the new COVID-19 Protection Framework and will help ensure whānau and communities are protected from the virus.

“Direct funding to Māori, iwi, community organisations and providers will enable those on the ground to make a real difference where and when it is needed.

“This will help protect vulnerable members of our community from a disease that may otherwise affect them disproportionately, and help drive overall vaccination rates towards the level we need to further ease restrictions.

“My message to all our communities now is: please get vaccinated to protect your whānau and your loved ones from COVID-19.”