$100,000 pot for water-crisis businesses

By Kaysha Brownlie

4 comments

Completed financial assistance application forms are flooding in for gastro crisis-affected Havelock North businesses but one business owner is not convinced by the scheme.

The Village Butcher owner, Paul Greaney, said he saved $8000 for a water-free machine, but was forced to use the money to keep his business afloat during the contamination.

Customers dried up and his machine ground to halt when Havelock North's water was contaminated with E.coli three weeks ago, infecting thousands with campylobacter. The Hastings District Council is still looking for the cause. A boil water notice has been in place since, making it impossible for the butcher to make sausages.

The council yesterday announced $100,000 of financial help for businesses affected financially during the outbreak.

The council's website stipulates the assistance is not designed to provide compensation and these matters are likely to "turn on issues of eventual legal liability".

Businesses on the brink of closure are top priority, others significantly affected are second.

But the butcher said if the council cared about businesses the mayor, councillors and candidates would have walked the shops. He had seen no-one.

"We were tremendously affected," he said, "losing about $7000 profit."

Businesses must fill out application forms with details from monthly cash flow to loan repayments, dating back to July last year .

He was reluctant to apply, saying the likelihood of actually getting money was slim.

"I think this is a token offering that will get swallowed up and the average Joe will get nothing."

The period for which financial assistance will be provided is from August 12 to September 9.

Havelock North Business Association president Sam Jackman said the scheme was "fantastic".

"The council is being extremely generous with what they are doing, so is Work & Income and IRD. We've got to remember this is ratepayer money," he said.

Kilim Turkish owner Fatih Cakmak had not filled out his application yet, but had every intention of doing so. "We were 30 per cent down on business" during the gastro outbreak.

Wright & Co. owner Liv Reynolds, who has fronted on behalf of Havelock North businesses, said financial assistance was a "step in the right direction". "[Hastings District Council] have been really co-operative thus far and have agreed to continue working with us."

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule could not be reached for comment.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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