We can get through as a community

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Our local economy needs you.

While Auckland (arguably) is at or near peak Omicron, we’re just getting under way.
Xero’s small business index for January 2022 fell below 97 points, after three months in a row above the 100s. Remembering that 100 on the index represents average performance, this signals an economic step change.

The downturn is largely due to slowing small business sales. Unsurprisingly hospitality and accommodation suffered the most (year-on-year growth rates slowing by 2.2% and 4.2% respectively) but even agriculture, forestry and fishing slowed (down 1.4%), and job growth was down 1.9%. This latest data doesn’t reveal the impact of January 23’s Red light as yet.

Overseas after their respective outbreaks of Omicron, Australia’s index fell to 86 and the UK’s to 85.

New Zealand’s economy has held better than most. As our Business South navigator, Rebecca Finlay, wrote last week, right now the biggest impediment to business and the local economy is lack of staff. We’re seeing that in Wellington this week as staff isolate and services struggle; supermarkets, primary healthcare, ferries, recycling, transport and restaurants.

Restaurant Association president Mike Egan said the Wellington community had rallied by getting healthy staff to plug staffing gaps in other restaurants. Surely that’s the kind of thing we can do here in the Waitaki.

At it’s most useful, rallying means knowing where we can help and understanding what resources are required. So Waitaki, getting connected has never been more important than now.

That means ask businesses how they are doing.

Ask businesses what you can best do to help.

Jump online to your groups town and country — ask questions, show your support.
If you can’t spend more money with them, can you review them to encourage others to spend there?

Do you know someone reliable who needs casual work? Can you connect them to a relevant business where usual staff are isolating?

Could you dust off some skills and offer to do a shift somewhere to help out? Could you volunteer somewhere to take the pressure off?

At The Business Hive, we’re in the business of connecting people — so call or come in.

We’re also home to Business South who are here to support all businesses, not just members, so talk to Rebecca Finlay (who’s doing a phenomenal job).

How we get through the next few weeks is the whole community’s business.

Ask yourself the question, ‘‘what can I do?’’

  • Cara Tipping Smith is a director of The Business Hive and chairwoman of the Oamaru Business Collective