Thursday, February 18, 2021

Mike Hosking: Latest lockdown is more than 'just three days' for businesses


The government has done the right thing in adjusting support for business yet again forced to close through no fault of their own.

They sadly - tragically in some cases - are the forgotten story of this latest level adjustment, for it is the same businesses getting smacked each time.

I still don’t think it’s enough support. The government has dropped the criteria or loosened the criteria to a 30 percent hit over seven days as opposed to 14.

What they might have worked out - remembering of course these are not business people , virtually none of them have ever owned  a restaurant or a café or a nail bar or a hair dressers - is that it’s not “just” three days.

Its three days on top of all the other three days that they have had to endure.  This is now cumulative; it’s a constant catch up.

It's opening up after last time, it's working hard to make up for lost ground, it's selling and promoting and borrowing and hoping hard out, and then bang - another level change.

Even at level 2 the carnage is huge. Level 2 deals to anyone wanting to make a living from crowds, anyone who wants to organise events where the bills get paid by people coming through the gates.

They are not just “one offs” and “oh well never minds”: they’re livelihoods and hopes and aspirations. They’re the culmination of planning and drafting and applications for licences, hireage of product and equipment.

This is how economies run. They’re made up of hundreds of thousands of small parts, all operating with and alongside other parts. Hit one, you hit dozens. Its trickle down, its flow on.

Economies aren’t taps, they’re not turned on or off at will or overnight without damage. And you keep doing it, the damage is worse each time.

Part of the equation is confidence which isn’t really measured in dollars and cents until it becomes so bad there is nothing left to measure because the door never got reopened at all.

The government has a bigger role to play here for those businesses that get hurt through no fault of their own.

It’s more than a number a calculation on paper its livelihoods and the life blood of the economy. This is a nation of small business enterprise.

If you’re seeing this as “just three days”, you don’t get it. I’m not sure the government has ever got it given their lack of experience in the area but the payment adjustment is at least a start.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

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