CEO comment 12 August 2020

12 August 2020

Virginia webLast night the Prime Minister and Director General of Health announced that New Zealand has had four cases of Covid-19 outside of a managed isolation or quarantine facility in New Zealand. We have updated information on what this means for us in our region and across NZ here.

We continue to advocate for an extension to the closure of the Tiwai Aluminium smelter. Unless a new supply agreement with a realistic electricity price is negotiated in the next few weeks the smelter will close in August 2021. This will cost not only the 1,000 jobs at the smelter, but also another 1,600 jobs which the smelter supports indirectly. It’s not difficult to imagine how this would be an economic disaster for Southland particularly in our post-Covid economy. A longer timeframe will give us time to develop alternative employment options. You can read my opinion piece in the ODT here.

We look forward to welcoming you to the ‘Business Breakfast’ with the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday, 27 August from 7.00 am – 9.00 am.  The Leader of the Labour party will provide information on Labour’s plans for the Covid-19 economic recovery and transformation.  You can register for this here.

There is not long to go now to apply for the extended wage subsidy with applications closing on 1 September.  You can find out more here.

The Regional Skills Leadership Groups in Otago and Southland have been announced, and you can find out more here.  This an important new initiative by the government to identify and support better ways of meeting future skills and workforce needs in our region.  We will look forward to providing further updates as these groups get underway.

BusinessNZ provide a weekly policy Roundtable which is available here.

As always any feedback is welcome.

Take care and stay safe.

Kia Kaha


Virginia Nicholls | CEO |

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