Kia kaha business owners

By: Samuel Mills

My column this month was meant to be on proposed changes to visa rules for businesses looking to hire migrants but even my articles and the Government’s proposed changes to immigration rules are not immune to Covid-19!

I would like to take a moment to thank all NZ businesses, especially the small to medium sized enterprises that often are backed by either a single owner or a tight group of shareholders. It is my personal opinion that these business owners do not get the recognition that they should for providing employment opportunities to our community, ensuring that we are able to pay the rent and put food on our tables.

These are troubling times for us all and the economic headwinds are in my opinion yet to be felt in earnest, notwithstanding the likes of Air New Zealand and Fletcher Building already announcing significant cuts to their workforce. Some small to medium sized businesses will be holding on to the team members who they consider to be family for as long as they can – for many businesses this will mean until the end of the generous wage subsidy being provided by Government.

For those of us in industries directly affected by Covid-19 we must be ready and able to quickly pivot, although I do not like the phrase “new normal” this is the situation we have to accept until a vaccine is developed. Until then, companies will be liquidated and personal guarantees on commercial leases are likely to be called upon – this will inevitably result in significant mental and emotional anxiety for all involved.

To the business owners and the employees who will be affected by these headwinds I have one message: kia kaha. If there is one benefit from our extended period of lockdown I think we have all come away with a sense of what is really important to us and for myself personally this has meant my family and the local community.

To those who will be on the verge of experiencing business failure in the coming months I wish to leave you with the wise words of Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies who stated “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.” For those of us suffering the aforementioned blows, I hope that we can all pivot together and keep moving forward to keep this economy chugging in the right direction for the benefit of the country as a whole.

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