Here’s the national media's take on the Government’s announcement to take Auckland to Level 1 later this week.
Auckland will make the move at 11.59 pm on Wednesday, meaning no limits on the sizes of gatherings and the removal of social distancing requirements in restaurants and bars. Individuals are encouraged to still use the COVID tracking app, and business must continue to display QR codes.
| Relief for retail sector?
The NZ Herald reported on Jacinda Ardern’s press briefing: ‘… indicators including building consents and card spending had been relatively high while restrictions in Auckland were in force, but [Ardern] acknowledged the economic pain for hospitality, retail, tourism and the arts in particular.
Treasury estimated the economy was operating at between 90 and 94 per cent with Auckland at level 2, she said. A spokesman from Treasury confirmed that amounted to about $100m a week, or $14.28m a day.’
‘The New Zealand stock market closed up 0.64 per cent on Monday as optimism grew around United States President Donald Trump’s health. The NZX 50 index ended Monday up 75.418 points, at 11898, marginally stronger than on Friday,’ according to Stuff.
In terms of sector updates, a new Retail NZ Retail Radar report shows: ‘retailer sales have improved in through September as the second wave of COVID-19 restrictions lifted. Sales were up 20 per cent and 45 per cent of retailers said that their sales improved on the same time last year. Significantly, retailer confidence has also improved with 78 per cent of retailers now reporting they are confident or very confident that their business will survive the next 12 months.’
| Flexible working and events uplift
RNZ tackles the ongoing debate around flexible working and how more businesses are adopting a remote working model due to COVID. ‘Frog Recruitment's annual world of work survey of 600 Australasian employers, across a broad cross section of industry sectors, has found nearly two-thirds (61%) of employees want flexible work options.
‘Employers without flexible working conditions were typically in industries such as manufacturing and other types of work requiring hands-on involvement, such as services and construction.'
Conference & Meetings World examines the positive impact the Auckland announcement will have on the struggling conference and events sector.
‘Now is the time to rebuild the industry, and deliver confidence back to organisers who have been holding off planning and booking their events. Our message is it is safe to hold a conference, seminar, workshop, or team recognition event.
‘We want people to understand that business events are the safest type of event that can be held, backed up by the World Health Organisation (WHO) itself,’ Lisa Hopkins, Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) chief executive.
| New Zealand's powerful passport
On a semi-related note and as domestic travel restrictions are relaxed, you may have missed the news that the New Zealand passport is now the world’s most powerful. Again, Stuff reports, ‘The Passport Index is one of several indices which measure the amount of visa-free world travel… It shows that New Zealand currently has visa-free access, or visa on entry, to 129 countries. That’s up from 80 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier in the year, but behind 2019’s total of 169.’
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