Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith

Businesses polled on lockdown effect

by Paul Campbell

Online consultations have been held across Kaipara with businesses in Paparoa, Maungaturoto, Kaiwaka and Dargaville responding to Mayor Jason Smith’s Task Force for Economic Support and recovery, which is investigating how business-people are responding to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Along with local business people the meetings, using the Zoom online app, included the mayor, Deputy Mayor Anna Curnow and local ward councillors for each town.

“Businesses led broad-ranging discussion about the current situation, their awareness of the support that may be available to them, and their hopes and ideas for future shared projects, including shop locally campaigns,” said Dr Smith.

Businesses are also completing a targeted survey, and Zoom meetings for Ruawai and Mangawhai businesses will be held this week, after which, the next steps for an action plan will take shape.

“The business people we’ve heard from are resilient and optimistic. They have great ideas and plans for their businesses and were interested to gather and hear from their local business colleagues, and this was all positive. Everyone seems keen to explore ‘shop local’ promotions, and the Dargaville Community Development Board is well advanced on this.”

Dr Smith added that the task force website now includes a detailed analysis of the Kaipara People’s Panel responses to the first survey about Covid-19 impacts. More than 400 respondents to the survey mean it is statistically significant and shows a clear picture of experiences of Kaipara people during the Covid-19 Lockdown.

“We were surprised how few people knew about the support available from Northland Inc, and as a result have asked the regional development agency to improve service levels in Kaipara. Part of the work of the task force is to advocate on behalf of Kaipara businesses and we’re getting on with this as the evidence and data emerges.”Go to kaipara.govt.nz/taskforce for more information.