Tuesday, April 23, 2024

50 Wellington businesses share in million-dollar protest fund

Fifty businesses that faced major disruptions as a result of protests in Wellington earlier this year have shared a total of $974,600 from a $1.2 million relief fund established by Wellington City Council and the Government.

Eighteen businesses received the maximum available grant of $30,000, with $2,000 being the smallest grant provided. The payments, made over the past two months, recognised the severe disruption caused to businesses around Parliament and parts of the central city during the three-week protest occupation brought to an end by Police on 2 March, Wellington City Council said in a statement this week.

A forklift moves a protestor’s car from the streets around Parliament.

City Council Economic Wellbeing and CCOs Manager, Anna Calver said the occupation was devastating for many businesses in the area.

“They were either forced to shut completely or suffered massive downturns in custom due to the disruption and intimidation associated with the protest,” she said.

Businesses that experienced a drop of 50% or more in their revenue during the period of the occupation were eligible to apply for a one-off payment. In total, 91 businesses applied for a payment.

The City Council contributed $1 million to the fund while the Government invested $200,000.

Ms Calver says a further seven businesses may receive payments from the remaining $225,400 in the fund if they provide documents to support their claims.

A panel of senior Council staff, assisted by an independent financial consultant, used a set of criteria to determine which businesses qualified for payments. Eligible businesses had their lost income for the months of February and March calculated. Each business was then allocated a portion of the $1.2 million based on the level of their lost income as a percentage of all lost income for all eligible businesses.   

Ms Calver says the panel exercised discretion regarding the location of some businesses that applied for payments. For example, one business in Victoria Street received a grant due to being adjacent to the Central Police Station. The business suffered significant revenue cuts due to the constant presence of protesters in the vicinity of the Police Station.

“Clearly there were instances where the impact of the occupation was felt more than in other parts of the city,” she said.

The list of businesses and the one-off payments they received can be viewed here.

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