Retail NZ's Greg Harford on Business Survivability

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If you’re a business owner in Auckland right now, Retail NZ is here to let you know that you are not alone. We’re working with policy-makers and Government officials on several issues, to make doing business feasible during COVID.

Getting stores open

With almost daily Government updates, it’s clear that COVID-19 is now here to stay. We know that we’re moving towards the new "traffic light" Covid Protection Framework when vaccination rates hit 90%. In the meantime, I’m urging Government to move forward to Step Two of the Auckland Roadmap, which is when retail stores can open their doors to customers who are wearing masks. Vaccination rates might not be at 90% in Auckland, but they are very high, and there’s no compelling reason for Government to stall on this.  Pushing Government on this is a key focus for the Retail NZ advocacy team right now.

The sooner we are vaccinated, the sooner we can do business again.

A fully vaccinated workforce is vital for minimising lockdown time, so we encourage you to communicate with your team about their vaccine status. You can learn more in our Employee Vaccinations FAQ. To decide which team members must be vaccinated, you’ll need to run a risk assessment for the various roles within your business. Worksafe has a list of risk factors from which you can rate the risk levels of different roles, check it out here.

As you'll know, the Government is making it mandatory for some retail workers to be vaccinated, if they work in a close contact service such as massage therapy, beauty or hairdressing. For others, it is up to the employer to make a call. The Government is now preparing a standard risk assessment framework and hope this will be delivered ASAP. Also, we’re pressing the Government to provide a vaccination toolkit, for empowering business owners. This toolkit would include:

  • Protection from personal grievances, when making vaccinations mandatory.
  • The ability to run saliva testing, rather than the more invasive nasal testing.
  • The ability to run temperature checks.

Speaking up for our sector

One of Retail NZ's key functions is to speak up for our sector, and our work has been influential in the Government's recent decision to double Resurgence Support Payments. Also, we have worked hard to successfully secure meaningful backdated rent relief for commercial tenants. There is always lots to do in the advocacy space, and I'm always keen to hear from retailers, so if you have a particular view on the present challenges, please get in touch.Greg Harford is the Chief Executive of Retail NZ, the peak body for New Zealand's retail sector.  Find out more about Retail NZ's work at