GUEST BLOG: The Lockdown With Bryan Bruce Day 20: Urgent! Rent Relief Needed For Small Businesses!


Yesterday I spoke with Natasha who has run 2 businesses for over 25 years which the lockdown is killing.

If Natasha could get government help to pay her lease she might be able to keep employing people.

She speaks to the plight of many small business owners so please cut and paste the folllowing link today and put it in an email to your MP asking for urgent action on Rent Relief For Small Businesses.

You can find your MP’s email address here :

Just click on their name for their contact details.

It’s small thing to ask that could make a lot of difference to a lot of lives .

Please share this post and help others.

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Thank you

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.


  1. Newsroom have written about this, noting that rents for small businesses have to fall, not just be deferred. Business rents have to fall

    Lawyer James Elliot is one of the authors, together with biz ed Nikki Mandow. Elliot notes that legally, commercial tenants are now entitled to a deduction in rent, not merely a deferment.

    It’s now widely accepted that the current emergency triggers clause 27.5 and the all-important sentence which says “a fair proportion of the rent and outgoings shall cease to be payable” during a period where a tenant can’t access their premises. [See linked article for more questions raised and points made.]

  2. It all raises some questions:

    Who are these landlords?
    Are they New Zealanders? Are they NZ based?
    How many of those biz landlords are based outside of Aotearoa?
    Where do the profits go?
    Are they individual people, or are they corporations?
    Are they ‘professional profiteers’, making their money off the backs of both small biz owners and those who work for them?

    Given the power they now wield, to drive genuine small business owners to bankruptcy, they seem to be in the position of holding an important sector of AO/ NZ to ransom. If there are no lows in place to prevent that from happening, shouldn’t there be such laws?

    …Particularly if many of the ‘landlords’ turn out to be overseas based corporations and professional profiteers? …and could we not put laws in place to prevent such a situation developing again (where foreign/ corporate ‘owners’ can never again be able to hold an essential part of our nation to ransom).

    • My 2 landlords are simple Ma and Pa working class NZers who use the lease income to fund their retirement. I have not asked for a lease reduction as we’re in OK shape (as long as we’re back into it next week) and think they need the coin more than we do.

      Besides we have 2 staff who were next to useless prior to Covid the rest of the team want gone, so they will get the DCM before leases are questioned. It’ll be very interesting to see what those 2 do when we get back into it, will they click it’s different world now and in doing so get their shit together becoming become productive team members or will they continue to be entitled lazy shitheads, time will tell. I reckon one will but one has drunk far to much at the ‘Entitled Millennials’ bar and is unlikely too.

      • Peter Barry
        I am reminded of Alexander McCall Smith and his character J.L.B. Matekoni who owns a garage garage where he employs two apprentices, Charlie and Fanwell, ‘young men who seemed entirely obsessed with girls’. He writes about them in The Full Cupboard of Life and The Miracle at Speedy Motors.

  3. Most of these small businesses, actually micro businesses*, are personal ones by people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps – real NZ pioneer artisans. To get a tiny business going to the point where you can make a living from it, with time for a personal life, is likely to take 2-3 years. It is wrong for government not to aid small business to cope into the future; it would lack integrity on the human side, and be inefficient from a business angle that there would be a mass of investment in money and time thrown away, leading to a loss of productivity and income showing up in low trading and GDP.

    The whole trend of government is to push people to the side, causing unemployment, and to put machines in place of real people. I hate it, but it is so widely accepted that we must put machines between us and every action we undertake (almost), that some schools are demanding that children bring lap-tops to school. The government has to turn from this approach and look at who put them in place and whose tax keeps them in comfort. Personally I want people running government, not machines, not algorithms,

    People running micro and small business are us; they are our children, our neighbours, trying to make a life that has a good upward trend line, not a defeated one breeding despair, anger, sadness, worthlessness, drug addiction and crime.

    *Micro businesses are a vibrant and profitable segment of any growing economy, but they often get swept up into the same tornado of information that applies to small businesses in general. However, as more members of the workforce become self-employed, the growth of micro-businesses has increased significantly.
    What Is a Micro Business?

    Micro businesses are companies with annual sales and assets valued at less than $250,000 per year and with fewer than five employees, including the owner. A subcategory of small business, micro enterprises develop in a variety of industries; they may later grow beyond their original foundation, or stay the same size for the life of the company.
    2019 Author – Alyssa Gregory

    • Greywarbler great piece Many commentators on this blog seem to have no sympathy for the small business owns and their landlords. Both are groups that are happy to take a risk put their own money and work hard to achieve a dream. Through no fault of their own they are now on their knees but Labour does not see them in their camp so the help is minimal.

      • Trevor you are right in much you say, but while I lay blame on Labour for much, National gives only lip service to micro business as well. They like to be oriented to large corporations, or their own small businesses which benefit their nearest and dearest – themselves.

  4. Just thought another point in the background to the need to support micro businesses; they have arisen from the desert. The desert being the graveyard of the previously dynamic domestic business arena making things for us and by us.

    After our borders were opened and our tariff barriers demolished, the idea was that a new economic order would follow where countries concentrated on export of their product they were most effective and efficient in, and import their other needs. A great idea on a macro level, but “Wot abart the workers”? Our previous micro businesses died, and NZs lost their jobs.

    The manure laid down by the economists and the right wingers and Treasury wonks, who had all been to Grimm’s schools of fairy tales which were often in the USA, was supposed to result in a flush of bright new dynamic businesses that would soak up all the bright people who had been put out of work. Those people that weren’t bright would just have to polish themselves, so they turned out like gem stones after time in a tumbler. But we aren’t so hard and tough, and many people got broken and we have not been properly treated by the dreamers who have created nightmares for many, and flamboyant pleasures for a small percentage. The rest of the comfortable were mainly channelled into the real estate game, which has become their monopoly interest.

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