Hospitality New Zealand has welcomed the $40 million subsidy to resolve commercial rent disputes, however for some the decision is too little too late.
The Government’s decision to allocate $40 million towards arbitration and mediation costs to resolve commercial rent disputes was initially commended by Hospitality New Zealand however, the association says it’s a downgrade to the proposed legislative change and falls well short in a number of key areas.
“We applaud the Government in standing up to New Zealand First and progressing with this assistance package to help solve commercial rent disputes, but it clearly misses the mark.
“This newly announced scheme isn’t compulsory, has taken way too long, is too narrow and isn’t retrospective – which precludes many businesses from being eligible,” says Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White.
The now voluntary scheme is eligible to businesses with fewer than 20 staff that haven’t yet reached an agreement with their landlord – criteria which Hospitality New Zealand says fails to consider difficulties with multi-party disputes and excludes those who, in some cases, prematurely agreed to negotiations before the subsidy was made available.
With no law change coming into effect and eight weeks until businesses can apply to the subsidy scheme, it’s likely to be a long road ahead for businesses already in dispute over their commercial rent.
“The ongoing delay in resolving this issue is impacting on people’s livelihoods – it isn’t time to play politics. We desperately need targeted action from the Government.”
“Hospitality businesses are vital to the social fabric of New Zealand and will be critical to our recovery — they give people jobs, experiences, places to meet and connect, and they build our sense of community,” said White.