Further to the announcement two weeks ago and with the current border closure in mind, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mark Brown is pleased to announce one further round of the Business Grant for October.
Local businesses continue to struggle to find employees and the situation is only set to get worse as more local workers are recruited for work in New Zealand, where they can earn higher wages and possibly find a path to residency.
Countries around the world are ditching lockdowns and slowly opening borders. Life in the United Kingdom has minimal restrictions, Australia has a plan to get life normal-ish again and even New Zealand has indicated slowly opening up to the world in the first quarter of 2022. So does the Cook Islands also need to learn to live with the virus or could we forever keep our zero tolerance approach?
Government is being commended by the Chamber of Commerce in responding swiftly with aid after the latest border closure, however challenges remain for businesses currently grappling with zero tourists.
The Cook Islands Government is moving forward with a process to potentially issue exploratory licenses to companies interested in mining the ocean floor as international conservationists, diplomats, and scientists call for a moratorium on all deep sea mining activities.
The current border closure has business leaders once again calling on Government to consider longer term visitor stays to cushion the industry during downturns and reduce the stress on Rarotonga’s infrastructure.
After the travel bubble commenced in May, Kiwi visitors began visiting in numbers that exceeded estimates. That has come to an end with NZ’s Covid-19 outbreak, and once again the industry is facing uncertainty even as government support kicks in.
Government will be spending an estimated $6 million over the coming month to prop up wages and support sole traders following the pause to the economic recovery due to the Delta community outbreak in New Zealand.