Mayor calls for staged move out of lockdown

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell. Images: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell is calling on the Government to start the process of a staged move out of Level 4 lockdown to save jobs, livelihoods and shore up the economy.

He says following Treasury’s ‘once in a century' report which states COVID-19 will have a profound impact on economic and financial systems in New Zealand and around the world, now is the time to move.

“I commend the Government for the responsive and substantial business support packages they have been rolling out, including the new Tax Relief Package for small business, and I fully support the need to maintain a continued lockdown approach to mass gatherings to stamp out contagion.

"However, what we need now is a commitment to the immediate, staged reopening of small businesses, to save thousands of jobs and mitigate the potentially irreparable damage to our economy.

“New Zealand’s business landscape has cataclysmically shifted and we need to respond accordingly with an immediate and disciplined pathway for the recovery of our economy. This will come via small business, our economic backbone and generator of innovative new enterprises and jobs."

To quantify this, Tenby says four weeks ago Tauranga's small business economy comprised over 480,000 enterprises, representing 97 per cent of all businesses, employing 30 per cent of the work force and contributing close to 27 per cent of GDP.

"While this will have changed dramatically in the post COVID-19 environment, it's sub-sectors of the SME economy which will most quickly recover and lift the wider economy with it - and we must support them urgently.”

Nearly 10 years ago, Tenby established the New Zealand SME Business Network on Linkedin, and now with almost 12,500 members he wants to see this group leverage digital technologies, unavailable a decade ago, to communicate with each other via digital meetings, generate ideas, and deliver tangible outcomes to the small business sector.

Tenby says professional business organisations might consider using, as a baseline, the ideas presented to government in the Small Business Council report submitted in July last year.

“A group of intelligent and experienced people spent a year developing strategies to enable a step change in New Zealand’s small business economy. There are a number of initiatives sitting in this report that now urgently need executing, including those related to taxation.

“While the government’s financial packages address immediate pain points, the ideas contained within the Small Business Council’s report provide guidance on sustainability in a changed environment.

“While my prime focus as Mayor is on Tauranga and collaborating with our regional partners in the BOP region, we need to be boundaryless in our thinking post COVID-19 and support each other nationally. And our planning now needs to move as fast to reopen our economy as COVID-19 moved to shut it.”

He says while some commentators question the Government’s approach to the management of the pandemic in New Zealand, the reality is the curve is flattening.

"The Bay of Plenty only has 41 confirmed cases; let’s use this opportunity to re-open parts of our regional economy to SME businesses including roading and infrastructure sub-contractors while the traffic is at an all-time low, residential house builders, warehouse and distribution companies, the professional services sector, and key retailers, many of which are SMEs and all of whom can manage physical distancing in the work place.

“It is this group of small business owners, and others like them, who will lead the vanguard of economic recovery. Let’s pave the way for them immediately.”

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Posted on 16-04-2020 15:41 | By morepork

Of course the Rate rise will be cancelled - about the same time you see Satan wearing an anorak because Hell froze over...

Oops! an update...

Posted on 16-04-2020 15:37 | By morepork

… to my previous post (Senlac Field - 1066)... It was, of course, King Harald Godwinson’s men who disobeyed orders, broke ranks, and chased the French. (I claim a breach of focus induced by Lockdown...that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-))


Posted on 16-04-2020 14:37 | By

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. We’ve all expressed our way out of this in some way, shape or form. Potentially Mayor Tenby makes some very valid points. Remember thorns have roses.

You call yourself a leader?

Posted on 15-04-2020 17:45 | By

Yes, this is a terrible time we are experiencing, however, to be clear, you would rather reopen businesses and put us all at risk, than be a little more patient for the sake of further protecting us as a nation. Tenby, I’m sick of your greed, your need for further growth of our already fully maxed out, overpopulated roads. Why don’t you take a pay cut, close facilities no longer required and give us rate payers a break. No rates increase for this year! People have lost jobs, or don’t you care? Clearly not!!

Mayor's rant

Posted on 15-04-2020 14:48 | By

So is the mayor and his buddy councillors prepared to also take a pay cut? This could reduce the amount of our rates.

Senlac field, 1066

Posted on 15-04-2020 13:33 | By morepork

After a very long afternoon repelling French knights with a solid shield wall, it looked as though the French were retreating down the hill in disarray. William’s men disobeyed their orders and broke ranks to chase them. The French turned and slaughtered them, thus changing the history of the Western world. It is easy, when you are tired and fed up, to question the plan and abandon it. But the plan is working and letting it run to completion could mean 0 cases in the Bay instead of 41. Yes, we want to get back to "normal", but we lasted this long; let’s see it through. It is becoming obvious that the Mayor is not a patient man, prone to temper tantrums and poor judgement. Saying what people want to hear may be politically, but not practically, expedient at this time.

Bussness before peoples lives ??

Posted on 15-04-2020 13:28 | By xenasdad

And this man’s Mediical Qualifications are ???? The old Roman saying, "For where a man’s experience ends, there also ends his knowledge".

Feathering your own nest

Posted on 15-04-2020 12:33 | By

Search the Companies Register for Tenby Powell and you’ll see why he’s keen to get back to his $$$$ and gives 0 about keeping deaths down and people in our communities safe. Can we hurry up vote this Trump wannabe out?


Posted on 15-04-2020 12:30 | By Merlin

An annoucement on the 20th after advice from health and other experts is only 5 days away re lockdown alert level 4.All these comments are not helpful and are they prepared to accept resonsibility if it sets off a spike in cases.I prefer to follow the government and their expert advisors.

So it's Dr Tenby now is it?

Posted on 15-04-2020 11:41 | By

Fresh from censure by his councillors for a bad language outburst, Mayor Powell now enters the fray of endless people telling the government when to change stages instead of leaving it to the most senior and reputable medical experts in the country. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, after all this is someone we expected to be a white knight riding to the rescue of Tauranga. We didn’t expect him suggesting even more unwanted growth, astronomical rates increase and a "hyper masculine" display. Leave this decision to Government and get on with pruning your Council’s costs to match it’s declining income. That’s part of what any good leader would do.

We 'Lessor Mortals' need a commitment also!

Posted on 15-04-2020 11:07 | By Maryfaith

Nice that our mayor is so concerned about small business. While his thoughts and commitment is commendable, it is not only small business that is and will continue to suffer - what about the wage earners, beneficiaries, and older citizens? In his high flying world of business it would be nice if he could come down from his high horse and give us ’lessor mortals’ a firm commitment that the proposed rate rise will now be cancelled.