Heart of the City is launching a petition to Parliament calling for assistance for businesses severely impacted along the route of $4.4 billion City Rail Link.
Chief executive Viv Beck said the central city business association had no choice but to petition Parliament after months of urging Transport Minister Phil Twyford to show human decency and support businesses affected by the CRL works.
"There are people in Albert St who are deeply distressed and experiencing serious hardship as a result of a project that has not respected the needs of business and had significant delays. To date nothing tangible has been delivered to help these people in their time of need," Beck said.
The Herald told the stories of several small business owners along Albert St who were on the brink of financial ruin and paying a heavy personal toll.
One woman struggling to save her souvenir business was on medication for depression and an elderly Indian couple were working 110 hours a week to help their son run a small supermarket.
Sunny Kaushal, who runs the historic Shakespeare Tavern, said CRL, the council and the Government should provide financial help to businesses "dying a slow death".
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Beck said Auckland Council was prepared to hear the case to support seriously impacted businesses and changed its position.
"We are asking central government to do the same and commit with Auckland Council to enable City Rail Link to provide appropriate business disruption support from the project budget. It will need a robust mechanism with clear criteria to ensure fairness and we have offered advice around this," she said.
Calls for help have won the support of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff who put a proposal to Twyford, which he is still considering. The Government is concerned about the precedent a financial package would have other public projects.
Heart of the City is working with the National MP for Auckland Central, Nikki Kaye, who has been on the case for months and will present the petition to Parliament.
Kaye called it an extraordinary situation where the length of delay has ruined the lives of businesses owners in the area.
"These people deserve much better. I encourage people to sign the petition and I hope that the Government and council will act to provide greater support," she said.
The Herald is seeking comment from Twyford.