Wairarapa mayors offer local businesses support

2:59 pm on 10 April 2020

Wairarapa's three mayors have urged local businesses to reach out if they are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to pay rates.

Masterton on the morning of 26 March, on the first day of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Masterton - pictured on the first day of the Covid-19 lockdown on Thursday 26 March Photo: RNZ / Te Aniwa Hurihanganui

Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils are putting measures in place to ensure ongoing support for local retailers and service providers during the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown.

The authorities have announced practical changes, such as paying suppliers weekly or fortnightly, instead of monthly, to create quick cash flow.

The councils are all looking to progress their own specific medium-to-large projects in the short term, so that local contractors have a supply of work ready to tackle post-lockdown.

The aim is to help local businesses now to speed up the recovery of the local economy, once Level 4 lifts.

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson, left, South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen, centre, and Carterton mayor Greg Lang

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson, left, South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen, centre, and Carterton mayor Greg Lang - pictured before the lockdown (file) Photo: Wairarapa Times-Age / LDR

South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen said local businesses were the "lifeblood" of the local economy, and supporting them through these uncertain times was crucial.

"Business operators are enduring a rough ride of uncertainty at the moment, particularly those who do not fall within the essential services category and who have had to close their doors. We empathise with them and want to offer reassurance that they are not alone and have not been forgotten."

Carterton mayor Greg Lang said the councils were actively encouraging their communities to support local suppliers.

"The 'buy local' message is a really important one for maintaining a strong local economy," Mr Lang said.

"It will become increasingly vital once we are out of lockdown and look to getting back up on our feet again.

"We are encouraging residents to support the 'Love Local' Wairarapa campaign devised by Destination Wairarapa, as well as voucher initiatives such as Shop it Forward NZ and SOS Cafe, whereby residents can buy a voucher now for their favourite shop, hairdresser, cafe or restaurant, and redeem it later."

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson urged Wairarapa businesses to contact their local business association for advice and support.

"We all value our local businesses and want each and every one of them to get through this tricky time.

"We are all in this together so let's help each other by buying local as much as we can."

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