Ardern urges businesses to think ‘what next’ – but doesn’t say what or when

The Prime Minister is urging businesses to think about ‘what next’ for their business but at this stage many businesses don’t even have any idea when they might be able to start operating yet.

Except for some businesses who have already chosen no ‘what next’ in New Zealand, like the Bauer Media Group and Virgin Airline.

PM: Too early to tell if four weeks of lockdown is enough

Ardern said “intensive planning” was being done for whenever New Zealand moved out of lockdown, but the exact exit criteria was still being worked on.

When it was worked out she expected to publish it so businesses and Kiwis would know whether or not the country was likely to extend its four-week lockdown or end it.

“I do expect to be quite transparent around that, because people need to know what it is we’re looking for, and as we have been transparent with the alert levels as they stand,” Ardern said.

So the Government hasn’t worked out (or at least told us) what’s next yet.

But at the same PM urges businesses to think ‘what next’

Businesses should plan how they will operate in an environment where intensive contact tracing would be needed post-lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.

The Government was working on additional guidance for the move to Level 3 to aid that, she said.

“What I would ask though is that it’s not Government alone that has a role to play in that.

“I ask all businesses to look at the alert level framework, think about how your business could successfully operate within each,” she said.

“We will need to, for many months to come, contact trace all New Zealanders who come into contact with one another and workplaces have a role to play in that.”

The Government has decided which businesses are essential enough to continue operating, but there is no obvious plan for phasing other businesses back into action, which businesses will be able to start up again under level 3, which may have to wait until level 2.

And there is not information on when restrictions may scale back apart from ‘wait and see’.

This is a very difficult time for businesses, and the self employed, and employees, with a huge amount of uncertainty.

All we know for sure is that some businesses are already closing up, some more won’t survive, some will choose to cease operations, and those that try to continue will be working in a very different business environment to what existed just two weeks ago.

Trying to keep a business afloat for a month with little or no business happening will be difficult enough for some. Trying to last 3 months or 6 months will obviously be a lot more difficult.

And there will be a vicious debt circle – as some businesses are unable to pay their bills this will impact on others who will have difficulty paying all their bills, let alone staff.

Without any idea of timeframes or how businesses will be allowed to operate some businesses will just say ‘too hard’, cut their losses and bail out for good.

Some will have no choice, especially those involved in travel and tourism who have bleak futures probably for a year or two.

If businesses are to seriously think about ‘what next’ the Government has to give them much clearer indications of what is going to be allowed and when, at least approximately.


From #MeToo to #WhatNext?

The #MeToo campaign has done well to raise the profile of the insidious history of sexual abuse, but Jacinda Ardern has made a good point – how to translate the initial impetus into ongoing action in New Zealand,

The Spinoff: ‘We need to say, OK, what next?’ Jacinda Ardern on the impact of #MeToo

The New Zealand prime minister has called for the energy of the #MeToo movement to be translated into action. Speaking to the Spinoff as part of a new podcast series in collaboration with the Auckland Museum, Jacinda Ardern said that the sharing of stories risk equating “to nothing in real terms” if there is no resulting change.

“What we need to do is then say, OK, well what next?” Ardern told Noelle McCarthy in the first of the podcast series Venus Envy. “You don’t want a movement, really, of women continually feeling like they need to tell stories that then equate to nothing in real terms. And so that’s the question that I’m interested in asking: what next?”

The challenge was to change the view around what was acceptable behaviour, she said.

“That to me comes back to that respect question, of how we treat one another, of conversations around consent and healthy relationships.”

These were “things we should be talking about in our schools, in safe places, where we learn and kind of our social norms, before people are entering into the workplace”.

The solutions to the issues raised in recent months needed to have both a cultural and policy dimension, she said.

“When you’ve got a country where you have such high rates of violence against women, you want to remove every barrier so a woman can make a choice, have a choice about her future. And, so long as we have women over-represented in low-paid work, or unsupported as carers, the choice is removed.”

Ardern is diverting onto a largely separate issue there.

There continues to be alarming levels of abuse and violence against women, but that’s not all. It is also a major problem for children, and men also victims, both directly and indirectly.

The anti-violence, anti-abuse and anti-discrimination  messages need to be repeated over and over if New Zealand society is to become a decent society for most citizens. At the moment we are falling well short of a decent society.

And this decency needs to also become far more apparent in our discussions and debates, in Parliament, in the mainstream media and in social media.

This is not a political issue apart from needing more politicians to speak up and act. It is largely a social issue, which means all of our society should be acknowledging the problems and contributing to finding better ways of interacting and better ways of behaving towards each other.

What next?

TV1 has run a 5 night series of programmes looking at the future. They have proposed Plan A – doing much the same as now – and Plan B – making radical changes to how we do things over the next 20 years.

What next?

The last programme is promoting what they have done as potentially a ‘pivotal moment’.

Has anyone watched any of it?

If so has it changed your mind? Has it inspired you to do things differently?

What next?