National’s plan to reopen would see areas with 70% vaccination and no Covid-19 go to Level 1, and fully vaccinated businesses resuming normal operations.
It would also provide rent support, temporary tax cuts and industry specific support.
Watch the press conference here:
The party released its Back in Business financial plan in Wellington this morning, offering various incentives and support for businesses.
Companies, alert levels and proof of vaccination:
- Allow level 2 businesses to operate normally if all staff are fully immunized
- Take any area at least 70% fully vaccinated without Covid in the community to immediately alert level 1
- Allow businesses to operate below level 2 without capacity constraints provided all customers present proof of vaccination
- Pay half of rental costs for small businesses with 40% reduction in revenue
- Ensure that companies can legally require staff to be vaccinated
- Ensure that companies can legally require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry
- Allow fully vaccinated individuals with proof to attend level 3 work, events, gyms, restaurants or bars
- Offer free rapid antigenic tests to companies, for bi-weekly tests for all staff
- Extend the wage subsidy to alert level 2
- Lower the wage loss threshold for loss of earnings to 30% and increase payments to $ 800 per full-time employee or $ 480 per part-time employee
- Require wage subsidy payments to be processed within five business days
- Introduce a temporary (two-year) tax rate of 17.5% for small businesses
- Reduce workers’ taxes by increasing the upper income tax payment threshold of 10.5% from $ 14,000 to $ 17,000 for the next two years
- Hand out $ 100 vouchers for use in any hospitality, hospitality and tourism business to each fully vaccinated adult (expires after six months)
- Allow hotel companies to extend outdoor seating in public spaces where council regulations are safe and practical
- Establish a $ 50 million insurance plan for major event planning
- Allow all fully vaccinated staff to cross regional borders if they test negative, including rapid antigen testing
- Abolish regional travel restrictions at an 85-90 percent vaccination rate
- Introduce a two-year moratorium on any regulatory or legislative changes that increase the cost of doing business
- An immediate write-off of $ 150,000 on the costs of new factories, equipment and related software to stimulate investment in more productive assets and restore the asset write-off threshold to $ 5,000
- Establish a mental health program for small businesses
These measures are in addition to the goal of vaccination rates of 85 to 90 percent nationwide and in all DHBs, as outlined in the party’s reopening plan released three weeks ago.
However, party leader Judith Collins told Morning Report National today that she would instead end the closures by December 1, if it happened sooner.
She said the companies didn’t want mercy and handouts, they just wanted good luck.
“They want to be trusted to continue to create value, serve their customers and employ others… if we want these companies to be there once we get through this pandemic, we need to act.”
She said the government continued to make “vague announcements and promise more details in the future” when a plan was needed.
“We need a plan because we now have over 350,000 New Zealanders dependent on allowance. That’s about one in nine of the working-age population.”
She called on the government to immediately adopt National’s plan, saying it would provide immediate support to keep businesses afloat over the next 12 months and move the country past lockdowns and alert level rules. “which no longer have any meaning”.
“Spending to support these businesses today will pay off for tomorrow’s economy, but beyond that the best thing we can do is help businesses survive over the next 12 months is to reduce the need support in the first place. It means doing whatever it takes. takes to avoid confinement. “
Revenue spokesman Andrew Bayly said the wage subsidy program was designed with short and tough lockdowns in mind and was never intended to keep businesses in a prolonged lockdown like the one seen in Auckland, now in its ninth week.
Finance spokesman Michael Woodhouse said the government cynically used the cover of Covid-19 as “a bottomless ATM with which to advance its political agenda.”
He said he spent at least $ 12 billion from the Covid-19 fund on things that could in no way be considered to be Covid-19 related, including three water reforms and cameras on ships from peach.
“The waste just has to stop. “
Meanwhile, with inflation rising rapidly – in part due to government stimulus measures – families were struggling, he said.
“This is now the biggest medium term threat to the New Zealand economy and the government needs to recognize it … we all recognize that Covid has changed a lot and no one is calling for austerity or cuts to services like health and education, but we just can’t allow the government to use Covid as an excuse to bankrupt us financially. “
Despite the costs outlined in its plan, National would re-commit to a 15-25 percent range for the debt-to-GDP ratio and be clear on when that target would be met, he said.
“The comprehensive package will lead to lower government spending in the economy and more generous spending for those who need it most.
“The real key to this is getting back into business and making businesses run as they would, avoiding the need for government support.”