Crush the cluster – not commerce

The New Zealand government should focus on crushing the cluster, not businesses who are being denied the opportunity to trade when they comply with lockdown and alert level hygiene, safety and security rules, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.

“The system designating some businesses as ‘essential’ while others have to shut down when they provide the same services and products is an unfair lottery, picking winners and losers,” Barnett says.

“Supermarkets can sell everything, the local dairy is open, but the local butcher or greengrocer has to close. Abattoirs, manufacturers, exporters, hospitality outlets and retail shops all have to shut or their operations restricted. Why?

“Complying with rules and regulations is what they do every day.”

Barnett says discussions with Treasury over continuation of the wage subsidy and other support mechanisms to help ease cash flow, provide some certainty to employment and business continuity have been “constructive”.


Steve Hart is a writer and podcaster.