26 Mar 2020

West Coast 'war room' being set up to help businesses and workers

4:43 pm on 26 March 2020

An employment hub dubbed the "war room" is being set up on the West Coast to help businesses and workers affected by the Covid-19 lock down.

Granity on the West Coast is clearing up, with heavy and wind warnings are lifted.

Granity, on the West Coast of the South Island. File image. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Development West Coast (DWC) said it was one of several initiatives under way to help people now and in the future.

The hub has been set up with help from the Ministry of Social Development and other regional development agencies.

Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne said it would facilitate getting available workers into much-needed employment once the lockdown was removed.

He said staff had also been talking West Coast businesses through the government's employer wage subsidy package.

Milne said DWC was now working remotely and had good systems in place to manage inquiries.

"There are a number of resources available for West Coast businesses to tap into for support during this unprecedented time."

He said the wage subsidy package was a "great resource" that could help relieve immediate cashflow issues.

Milne said DWC had also had a number of businesses and members of the public contact the organisation with the offer of accommodation for those struggling to self-isolate.

"It's great to see this kind of community spirit. This information has been passed on to local civil defence who are liaising with local police to ensure those in need are taken care of."

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