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Time to make it, or break it for businesses

Whether today’s public holiday will bring dollars or debt remains to be seen, as local business owners tally up returns from the unexpected long weekend.
Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood said last week that the bill establishing the one-off holiday had passed its third reading and become law.
However, whereas some owners said they expected to see a large number of people out and about in the region during the weekend, others believed numbers would be too low to justify opening.
Almo Books owner Steve Laurence said the public holiday was announced by politicians who did not understand the realities of running a small business.
“The margins are always thin in hospitality.
“The way the Holidays Act works is you’ve got to pay time and a half and give a day in lieu.
“And this holiday is not going to be like a normal holiday. Because nobody knew it was happening there’s not going to be a lot of people over here.”
Laurence said it would probably cost him more to open than he would bring in. However, staying closed would cost financially too.
“It’s a lose-lose.
“You have a cabinet who made this decision who have never paid a wage bill and it’s easy for them to say ‘let’s have a holiday’ but these last couple of years have been a bit of a challenge.
“It’s not going to be terminal for the business but it’s just another thing and there’s been a lot of things.”
Meanwhile, Dean Lawton of Madison’s Cafe and Bar in Lansdowne said he thought the holiday was a positive thing.
“Mondays are a fairly quiet day anyway. We are going to open and when it comes to costs it’s all relevant to what we make.
“Hopefully we have some sunny weather – I don’t think people will be staying at home.”
In Martinborough, Union Bar manager Monica Guthrie said the bar would be open for the holiday and the business had already received quite a few bookings.
“We will be open; I haven’t discussed with the chefs yet if we will be doing anything special.
“It makes the pay run a bit tricky but it will be good for business – we do get quite busy over the weekend.”
Overall, Guthrie said she expected the long weekend to be good for business and believed a number of people would take the opportunity to visit the region.
C’est Cheese owner Paul Broughton agreed the holiday was the right thing to do.
“I’m not sure how much extra business it will generate. But we will get people coming to South Wairarapa as we always do on long weekends.”
Broughton said the effect of the holiday on small businesses would depend on individual staffing arrangements, but the extra costs would not affect him as it would be just himself working on the day.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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