Government Covid support for small-medium businesses is a real hope with nearly 50,000 signatures on a petition heading for the Beehive and a "positive" hearing from a key minister, says Auckland Business Chamber boss Michael Barnett.
"I feel extremely positive," said the chamber chief executive after a discussion with economic development minister Stuart Nash, who Barnett said undertook to approach finance minister Grant Robertson.
Meanwhile, the chamber's petition for the Government to extend the pandemic resurgence payment to the country's struggling SMEs as well as wage earners had by late Friday afternoon before closing attracted almost 50,000 signatures. The petition, opened at the start of the week, will be sent to Robertson.
New Zealand's 530,000 SMEs make up 97 per cent of all companies in the country, according to MBIE.
The petition was signed by businesses as far south as Fiordland.
Underpinning the petition was the argument that businesses, not just wage earners, need help in the Covid response.
If businesses claimed the wage subsidy for their employees they had to pay 80 per cent of the wage.
This meant they were topping up the Government subsidy at a time where they had no revenue coming in, said the chamber. On top of this cost, businesses had its weekly overheads of rent, rates, subscriptions, hire purchases and a range of other costs.
"The Government does offer a one-off resurgence payment, however if you look at this, it's equivalent to about 60 per cent of one week's overheads. As the Government extends the lockdown employers need the same recognition as employees."
Barnett said the aim was to send a message to the Government that these are tough times for business.
"Businesses need help. We have been asked to pause business so that Government can implement their elimination strategy for the good of New Zealand so a continuation of the resurgence package is not a big ask."
Barnett said his meeting with Nash had been "really positive".
"I felt really positive he felt very strongly there was a case to take back."
Barnett said lockdown and other Covid restrictions were a "really good opportunity for the Government to be a champion of the SME sector".
"A lot of them gave Labour their vote."