The Restaurant Association has brought together a diverse group of people with expertise from all facets of the hospitality sector to provide leadership and guidance to the hospitality community throughout the COVID-19 recovery period. It is called the Hospitality Recovery Taskforce.
Meeting monthly, the taskforce plans to collaborate and help guide the direction and decision making of the Restaurant Association, driving projects and lobbying over the recovery period.
The group comprises of:
- Marisa Bidois, Chief Executive
- Mike Egan, National President
- Krishna Botica, Operator – Restaurant, Cafe and Bar
- Leeann Muntz, Māori Tourism
- Sam Crofsky, Operator – Cafe
- Argun Gill, Operator – Regional (South Island)
- Sophie Gilmour, Food to go
- Bo Manoonpong, Operator – Restaurant
- Ruth Pretty, Operator – Catering
- Frank Hsu, Operator – Restaurant
- Andrew Targett, Operator – Restaurant
- Tim Smith, Operator – Restaurant and Bar (for Tamati Coffey MP)
The first meeting was held on Tuesday 21st July and apologies were:
- Richard Sigley, Operator – Bar
- Tamati Coffey MP, Member of Parliament, Government Link
- Jackie Grant, Operator – Restaurant, Cafe and Bar
- Cam Mitchel, Operator – Restaurant, Bar
Discussions were held in the following key areas:
Wage subsidy and extension has been helpful by giving breathing room to make decisions, use the time to make changes. Not everyone has been able to get the extension for eligibility reasons (including better than expected bounce-back trading) and by Christmas time it will likely be a different story.
This is now integral for the industry. The Small Business Minister and Tourism Minister don’t see everything, we need someone who knows what is happening on the ground and is able to respond.
A plan needs to be in place for immigration. Work visas are getting processed – (however owners are having to jump through hoops post-COVID-19); need to get more clarity around timeframes – when likely that we can start letting people on work-visas back in; need clarity around what reasons INZ deem unsuitable for not hiring a New Zealander and if immigration is going to require that hospitality suggests we support inexperienced New Zealanders, are they going to offer training support?
The holiday period seemed to have gone unexpectedly well; seems to be active support for local economies.
Rent / lease relief
Is still a significant issue, the Government needs to put up something to assist.
This sector of the industry is still struggling – down significantly and Christmas parties and celebrations are going to be cut back, given all the redundancies. Caterers might have to wait until the borders re-open to see a real springboard.
Concern was raised around what will happen if we get another outbreak or a second wave?
More support required for SME hospitality businesses.