Media Releases

It’s time for Wellington retailers to be supported

10 February 2022

The ongoing disruption caused by the protest in Wellington must be brought to an end quickly to support retailers and business across the city. 

“Retailers are into day three of disruptions, abuse and aggression due to the protestors. The Red Alert Level has already dropped sales by at least 30 per cent in the city – this protest has now brought sales down by at least 70 per cent. The entire city is disrupted and businesses are on the knife edge” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford. 

“What New Zealanders are seeing on the grounds of Parliament is what retailers across the country unfortunately experience daily. Retail staff are abused, assaulted and harassed on the COVID-19 restrictions like the requirement to wear masks in store and use QR codes at significant levels across the country. At the same time retailers face the same problem as Parliament – toothless trespass laws that provide no protection for their workers.”

“Now Wellington is seeing another level of concentrated abuse, and impacts due to these protestors. There are refusals to wear masks in stores, abuse to staff, and those close to Parliament having to close doors. We agree that we all have the right to protest in New Zealand, but this cannot come at the detriment to the surrounding community – authorities and Wellington City Council must take swift action to end this protest to protect businesses staff and operations.”

“The city needs a plan further than just removing protestors from the grounds of Parliament. We are significantly concerned that even once the protestors disperse from Parliament, they will then flow out into the streets and continue to impact retailers operations. Retailers’ need to see a plan to end this protest, and then an additional plan to support operations in the wider streets in the coming days”.

“It is time for authorities and the Wellington City Council to step up and support Wellington retailers, cafes and restaurants. Staff and business should feel safe and have the ability to operate without having to close doors, and take abuse. Put simply, its beyond belief that supporting business’s in Wellington to be safe and operate is not a priority here.”

For further information, please contact:
Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ
[email protected]
027 243 2842

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