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The latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Report highlights the speed with which Omicron has clamped down on the local economy.
The report, released last week, draws data from the last quarter of 2021 and paints a positive picture for the Waimakariri District with very strong economic growth. At December 31, 2021, Waimakariri GDP was up by approximately 9.7%, compared to 5.5% nationally. Similarly, employment, population growth and consumer spending were all notably up on the year before.
However, Enterprise North Canterbury Business Support Manager Miles Dalton says a lot has changed since the data was compiled.
“On the surface, this report paints a very rosy picture of our district with all indicators pointing in the right direction. However, what we are hearing and seeing on the ground over the first two months of 2022 is very different.”
Less foot traffic for retail and hospitality businesses, supply issues for trades and services, and staff shortages across the board are some of the challenges facing North Canterbury businesses as Omicron makes its presence felt, Miles says.
“It is hoped that the Government’s latest subsidy announcement will ameliorate this issue enough to get our local businesses through the next few months.”
The Government recently announced a new COVID-19 support payment for businesses that can show a 40 per cent drop in seven consecutive days within the six weeks prior to the shift to phase two of the Government’s Omicron response on February 15th. Eligible businesses can receive $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 full-time staff or $24,000. Applications for the payment open on February 28.
“It’s hard to predict what the next few months will hold, locally and nationally, but the next Infometrics Quarterly Report, to March 2022, will likely tell a very different story to this latest one,” Miles says.