Auckland businesses at 'point of no return' nervously await alert level decision

The Auckland Business Chamber says many businesses in the region have now reached a "point of no return" ahead of today's alert level announcement.

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Michael Barnett of the Auckland Business Chamber says lockdowns are simply not sustainable. Source: Breakfast

Auckland is scheduled to be at Level 3 until midnight Wednesday and the rest of the country will be at Level 2 until then.

Cabinet is meeting today to decide whether the current alert levels will change, with the decision announced this afternoon.

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In a release on Saturday, Chief Executive Michael Barnett said a survey had been conducted among businesses on their ability to deal with further lockdowns.

About 18 per cent of those surveyed said they would not survive another lockdown at Level 3, while 28 per cent said they could probably handle just one more.

Mr Barnett called on the Government to step up and manage the border properly, and to trust businesses to operate safely.

"Lockdowns this severe are not sustainable they are telling us," Mr Barnett said.

"The effect reverberates beyond the region but across New Zealand stifling attempts at economic revival and recovery."

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Speaking this morning to TVNZ1's Breakfast, Mr Barnett said many businesses had now reached breaking point.

"Each day it costs Auckland $65-$75 million in GDP," he said.

"Every day in Auckland, 250 people are losing their jobs - over half of businesses in Auckland are operating at less than half capacity."

Mr Barnett said he's hopeful today's announcement will see the end of Level 3.

"The big message to government is: manage the border and we'll manage the businesses," he said.

"You can't keep locking businesses down because they will fail.

"I think we could probably operate with a scalpel rather than a sledgehammer.

"If supermarkets can operate and dairies can operate, then quite frankly so can a whole range of other small and medium businesses."