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Lockdown resilience

Tairawhiti businesses’ concern levels lower compared with last year: survey.

Businesses here are less concerned about last month's lockdown compared to that of last year, a Trust Tairawhiti business survey shows.

The online survey was launched on August 20 to capture the impacts the lockdown was having on local business owners and operators.

The survey closed as the region moved into Delta Alert Level 2.

The short survey asked questions around the areas of business affected by lockdown, types of support that would be useful, uptake of government financial support and employee wellbeing.

Of the 63 survey respondents, the majority were from the tourism, retail and service sectors.

The results show businesses felt more comfortable during the current lockdown, with the overall concern sentiment sitting at 3.6 — on a scale of 5 being very concerned down to 1 being not concerned — compared with 4.2 in the 2020 lockdown.

The greatest impact areas on businesses for this lockdown are revenue and income, short-term cashflow and the ability for staff to perform their roles.

Supply chain, perishable inventory and exporting are the lowest concern points.

The average wellbeing sentiment is 3.3 out of 5.

The most requested area of support for businesses in the survey was digital enablement, followed by marketing and business sustainability.

In last year's lockdown, business planning, systems and operations were the most requested. These priorities have reduced, showing greater business resilience in these areas.

Survey results show businesses would prefer support via online resources, followed by mentoring and meeting with a professional service provider.

Last lockdown, professional service providers were the preferred method.

Workshops and calling an advice line were the least requested form of support this year.

About 71 percent of businesses have accessed the Government's wage subsidy and or the resurgence payment.

Trust Tairawhiti economic development general manager Richard Searle said the trust's business growth team would refine aspects of its work plan to support recovery.

“We'll be looking at further promotion of the Digital Boost programme in response to the survey results, which showed this is where our businesses want more assistance.

“We're also developing other initiatives centred around the topics highlighted in the survey, to support the return to business-as-usual.”

A full report on the survey results, along with comparison graphs from the 2020 survey, can be viewed on the Trust Tairawhiti website. Go to the industry, business & employment section at the top of the page, then to economic insights.

Over last month, the Ministry of Social Development paid out $6m from the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme, supporting 6000 job roles across Gisborne — about 23 percent of the region's estimated job positions.

The orginal wage subsidy in 2020 supported 11,000 jobs at a cost of $74m.