Nelson MP Nick Smith, with the support of Nelson and Tasman Mayors Rachel Reese and Tim King, has called a meeting of local businesses and authorities regarding the local economic impacts of the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus is impacting on the region’s education, forestry, fruit, fishing and tourism sectors. The purpose of the meeting is to assess the regional impact and consider how central and local government agencies can appropriately respond. This virus poses a significant threat to the regional economy this year and we need to do everything possible to respond and manage those risks” Dr Smith said.
“I am particularly worried about the impact on small businesses and their employees. I am already hearing of working hours being cut and discussions about layoffs. It may be necessary for the Government to consider a short term wage subsidy like that used for the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes. This meeting is about assessing the scale of the economic impact and the number of sectors and jobs affected. We also need to put in place the coordination so we can respond to further developments” Dr Smith said.
The agencies participating include NMIT, Port Nelson, Nelson Airport, the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, District Health Board, forest owners and contractors, tourism, fishing and horticultural industry representatives.
The meeting is to be held at the Nelson Electorate Office at 544 Waimea Road
5-6.30pm Thursday 27 February and is open to any businesses or employees affected.
“Our hope is that the coronavirus will be contained and that the impacts on Nelson will be short term, but we also need to be prepared in case the situation deteriorates. Nelson is an exporting and tourism region and we need to be responsive to issues affecting the global economy” Dr Smith concluded.