18 Dec 2019

City Rail Link calls for applications to businesses' hardship fund

5:50 pm on 18 December 2019

Small businesses affected by delays of the City Rail Link (CRL) project in central Auckland will be getting rental assistance.

Concerns raised about City Rail Link after company crashes

Concerns raised about City Rail Link after company crashes Photo: RNZ / YouTube

Businesses need to meet certain criteria to qualify for the hardship fund first introduced in October.

To qualify, businesses must:

  • Be located along or in close proximity to CRL's alignment in the Albert Street area between Victoria and Customs Street (the area affected by delayed construction)
  • Have fewer than 20 full-time equivalent employees
  • Be a tenant of the premises (not connected/related to the owner)
  • Have been situated in the accepted zone since June 2016 (when construction started)

CRL Limited said it would use an independent valuer to assess the impact of construction delays on the rent being paid.

Chief executive Sean Sweeney said the company was pleased to be providing details of the pilot programme now, ahead of businesses heading into the Christmas period.

"No matter what shape a business is in, rent invariably has to be paid and can be the biggest fixed cost on a business owner's books," Dr Sweeney said.

"Our programme will provide assistance on an ex-gratia, or goodwill, basis for those adversely impacted by construction delays."

He said supporting small businesses was the priority.

"They are the ones who will benefit from this, not landowners or owner-occupiers who are likely to gain from increased property values along the CRL corridor," he said.

CRL is contacting businesses now, inviting them to first register for support under the programme.

"We've set up from scratch a pilot programme that has never been done before in New Zealand and we've worked hard to get it in place as quickly as possible. Requests for assistance will be assessed independently in the new year," he said.

"To get the ball rolling, businesses can register with us now and we will provide them with a full application pack."

The programme will continue until work in Albert Street is completed in late 2020. More information can be found at CRL's website.

Businesses need to provide documents supporting the assessment criteria.

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