News | 18 July 2022
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Parliament occupation payouts confirmed

Fifty businesses have shared a total of $974,600 from the $1.2 million relief fund established by Wellington City Council and the Government following the protest occupation in and around Parliament earlier this year.

A Panorama of Parliament in Wellington.

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

Eighteen businesses received the maximum available grant of $30,000, with $2000 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.  

City Council Economic Wellbeing and CCOs Manager Anna Calver says 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.” 

Businesses that experienced a drop of 50 percent 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 paid in $200,000.

The business relief fund followed a $2.3 million pandemic response package released by the Council earlier this year. This included $1 weeknight and weekend parking, free outdoor ‘parklet’ dining licenses, $1 alcohol and food annual licence fees and rent relief for businesses in Council-owned buildings. 

The response package also enabled retail and hospitality businesses in the CBD to apply for their quarter 4 (April-June) rates payment to be extended. The Q4 rates payment was due on 1 June - however, all eligible CBD businesses will have until 1 December to pay this instalment.

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

This took into account those businesses that reached the $30,000 maximum allocation of the fund and then reallocated out the remaining fund. The stepped process ensured larger businesses were not penalised and they fairly received the maximum portion they were entitled to. That left the remaining amount to be then split between those smaller businesses that ultimately received a higher proportion of their lost income than the larger 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.”