As the days get shorter and colder and the nights get longer, many people have an instinct to stay indoors and hibernate. However, given that we have already spent many weeks in enforced hibernation as part of the Covid-19 response, businesses will be hoping that we make the most of being able to get out and about again and visit their premises, rather than following winter's usual patterns.
Covid-19 recovery role
As you may be aware, the crisis our country is now facing has prompted me to defer my retirement from politics and agree to take on a new role within the National Party caucus focussing on New Zealand’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
I am looking forward to working with National’s new leadership team of Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye in this role as we map out National's approach to getting New Zealand through the challenges we are now facing.
My decision means that I will be seeking a position as a list only MP for National following the election in September this year.
Nicola Grigg remains our candidate for Selwyn and she has my full backing in her campaign to win this seat in September and become the next MP for Selwyn.
Supporting job creation
Figures from Statistics NZ show that the number of New Zealanders in employment fell by a record 37,500 in April. This is the largest decline in jobs seen in the 20 years that these figures have been recorded.
Thousands of small businesses across New Zealand were starved of revenue during the lockdown and many are still struggling under level two restrictions.
We need a plan to support New Zealand businesses to create jobs and grow the economy again.
Recently National's leader Todd Muller announced that if National is returned to government this year, we would implement a JobStart scheme. This scheme would take the form of a $10,000 cash payment to businesses that hire additional staff. The scheme would begin on 1 November 2020 and run for the remaining five months of the financial year through to 31 March 2021, incentivising up to 50,000 new jobs.
The scheme will be capped at 10 new employees, or $100,000 per business. Businesses will need to prove that the new employee is an additional full time equivalent over and above their existing labour force.
Giving our tourism businesses a hand up
Covid-19 has taken a huge toll on our tourism and hospitality industry and we need to be thinking creatively about opening up our borders as soon and as safely as possible. In 2019, Australian visitors spent over $8 million in Selwyn so the re-opening of trans-Tasman travel would give local businesses a real boost.
Arthur's Pass - one of Selwyn's many idyllic locations
In order to assist our tourism industry to get back on its feet, National has developed a $100 million grant programme called Tourism Accelerator. The Tourism Accelerator programme would provide direct cash support to businesses and tourist operators to help give them the confidence and ability to reposition their business and keep their doors open and their staff in jobs.
Under the programme, tourism businesses would be able to apply for 70 per cent of the funding for projects aimed at driving increased or new demand for tourism, such as developing new or revised tourism offerings or marketing to new demographics or geographical areas.