The Government's relief package for business will come as immediate relief to tourism operators facing a devastating downturn but could go further, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.

"It's a substantial package that demonstrates the scale of the challenge facing New
Zealand. Some jobs will be saved but we believe that many will still be lost," TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said.

"We are pleased the Government has responded to our call for the funding to be
accessible, available to businesses in every region and with no delays. The Government has indicated that payments may be possible within five days and we commend that speed of response."

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TIA expects hundreds of tourism businesses to apply for the wage subsidy. The wage subsidies will be available for businesses that can show a 30 per cent plunge in revenue for any month between January and June this compared with the year before (including projected revenue).

"This will be a huge relief to small tourism business owners across New Zealand who were facing having to make their people redundant or close their businesses within days," Roberts said.

However, TIA said the major weakness of the Government package is the exclusion of larger businesses. The $150,000 cap to the payment of $585 per full-time employee for 12 weeks effectively means that only around 20 staff can be subsidised.

Tailor made packages are being made available to larger businesses and Roberts
urged businesses to contact Work and Income quickly to discuss the support
available to them.

The package does not include business loans but the Government has signalled it will hold further discussions with banks on securing access to capital for businesses.

TIA is disappointed that there appears to be no mental health support included in the package.

"We know tourism operators and their staff are under enormous stress and need access to counselling and other mental health services," Roberts said.

"The tourism industry will not recover within this 12 week period but this Government support does buy our smaller operators some breathing space while they adjust to this unprecedented situation.''

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He said it was pleasing that Finance Minister Grant Robertson has indicated this is not a one-off package.

TIA will continue to work closely with the Government and advocate for the interests of New Zealand's thousands of tourism businesses and nearly 400,000 workers," Roberts said

Focus: Finance Minister Grant Robertson speaks to media before Labour’s caucus meeting. Video / Jason Walls

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