The Auckland Mayor and his leadership team have sent a "concept" assistance proposal for businesses facing bankruptcy from City Rail Link construction to the Government to consider and joint fund.
The assistance proposal drafted by City Rail Link Ltd (CRLL) was presented in the past two weeks to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore, who have discussed it and approved it.
Today, about seven Auckland councillors are due to sit down with small businesses seeking financial help from the Government and Auckland Council.
Heart of the City chief executive Vic Beck has urged Goff and Transport Minister Phil Twyford to show some "human decency" and urgently set up a hardship fund for about 16 businesses without any success.
Last week, this assistance proposal was sent to relevant government ministries to consider, Cashmore told the Herald.
"We want a yes or a no from the Crown [Government]," Cashmore said.
"If the Crown says no then we might have to do something ourselves - fund it through CRLL - or walk away. We want to get all this stuff nailed out and then take it to the [Auckland] councillors as a group.
"We understood about these issues a little while back, we investigated our options we could take, and CRLL has come to us with 'here's a solution we think'. We thought about that for a week or so and then we approached the ministers."
Funding for the $4.4 billion CRL is a joint venture between the Government and Auckland Council.
It appears any form of direct cash compensation is not part of the "concept" proposal sent to the Government.
What will be part of the assistance proposal is a reduction in rent for the businesses, after "working with" the landlords.
"The mayor and I are very keen to respond to the dire circumstances that a couple of these businesses find themselves in. And I emphasise, there is only a couple," Cashmore said.
"We would like to do what is possible within the means of council, working with the property owners. There can't be enough emphasis on that. Because the big winners from the CRL will be the people who own the properties, in the vicinity of the stations.
"I would like to think that the people who own those properties will be giving them some reductions in rent, or lease payments to help out."
Twyford told the Herald yesterday they had received the proposal from Auckland Council.
"I know businesses on Albert St have had to endure ongoing disruption and our Government's expectation is that CRL is a good neighbour and helps out," Twyford said.
"We're not considering cash payments but we're open to new ideas to help affected businesses.
"For example, the owners of the buildings could consider reducing their rent given they will be getting a massive increase in the value of their properties once the CRL is completed.
"We are currently considering the council's proposal."
Auckland Central MP, National's Nikki Kaye, has also been in correspondence with Twyford over Albert St businesses losing massive trade due to reduced foot traffic from CRL works.
In a letter to Kaye on July 22, Twyford suggests he is looking at ways to offer assistance that work around the "established process that must be followed" through the Public Works Act 1981 to offer financial assistance from the Crown.
"I do recognise the scale and duration of CRL being unique in terms of New Zealand infrastructure projects and note that lateral thinking to find a solution may be called for because of this. I will ask my officials for advice on whether there is any scope for a solution that respects formal processes and welcome any suggestions you have," Twyford tells Kaye.
Kaye is in Auckland today, after being given parliamentary leave to meet with affected business owners along Albert St.