What does an Alert Level 3 and 4 mean for property?
We are here for you
In what feels like a whirlwind week, we want to reassure you that Property Council remains (remotely) open for business and that our team are here to serve our members.
What yesterday's announcement means for members:
- As of yesterday we are on an Alert Level 3, with a move to Alert Level 4 within 48 hours. Everyone is being asked to self-isolate for a minimum of four weeks from Wednesday.
- All non-essential services must now close their public facing offices and stores.
- Schools and early childhood centres (ECE) will be closed as of today but remain open for children of those in essential services until Wednesday.
- The wage subsidy has been expanded to remove the $150,000 cap, increasing the package from $5.1bn to $9.3bn – see here. We encourage our members to have an open dialogue with their staff and to take up this offer of assistance wherever needed.
- The Government, the Reserve Bank and the retail banks have agreed to significant support to businesses and mortgage holders with more details to come.
- Cabinet has agreed to freeze all rent increases and to look to extend no-cause terminations to protect people during this difficult time.
- Further preparations to support workers are being made as we move into Alert Level 4.
Repercussions for Property Council:
- As of COB yesterday, all Property Council staff will be working remotely and both the Auckland and Wellington offices will be closed. Fortunately, approximately half our staff are already remote workers, so we anticipate the disruption to be minimal.
- The government support package announced last week included the reinstatement of depreciation deductions for commercial and industrial buildings, aimed to encourage business investment in the recovery phase of COVID-19 and support productivity. Property Council members will welcome the reinstatement of depreciation, a policy change that we have called for since depreciation was first removed in 2010. For some members, this policy change represents a six figure tax depreciation claim. We encourage building owners to use this unexpected windfall to reinvest in the building and construction sector through new activity. This move will allow around $2.1 billion, that would otherwise have been collected in tax, to remain with building owners for investment.
- All scheduled Branch Executive and committee meetings have been cancelled and re-established as video conference calls.
- We have cancelled the planned March Corporate Members meeting. This meeting was to host this year's election of a new National President, however this has now been deferred and we are thankful that John Dakin, with the support of the Corporate Members, has offered to continue his tenure to assist Property Council through this unprecedented time.
- This meeting was also Argosy CEO Peter Mence's final meeting, with Kiwi Property CEO Clive Mackenzie's appointment to National Council to be made official. This change has now occurred and we extend our sincere thanks to Peter who has served the membership extremely well as both National President and a member of National Council and a warm welcome to Clive.
- We are currently confirming new dates for both Retail Conference and the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards and will update you as these are finalised.
- The 2020 Emerging Leaders Programme will be going ahead, with applications due to open in two weeks time. We encourage you to make the most of any downtime by extending your knowledge and networks.
- The advocacy team continue to work on BAU workstreams such as annual plans and we will be encouraging councils to keep any rates increases to a minimum to ensure the burden on rate payers is reduced.
- We are also working with the New Zealand Council or Retail Property (NZCoRP) to ensure their messaging is being heard by the public and the Government. See today's media release here.
We will continue to engage with the government to ensure the property industry is considered in any future economic support packages and that our industry is supported through this period of uncertainty.
In light of recent announcements and to ensure the health and wellbeing of our members, Property Council has suspended all event activity for the immediate future and rescheduled several large events to the latter half of the year. We are committed to providing members with opportunities to be educated and informed and will work within restrictions and guidelines to continue to provide these services.
Our business is now exposed to a severe and existential threat. Over half our annual revenue is generated through events and conferences that bring people together to connect and learn. This revenue supports our advocacy workstreams, member services and wider team.
More than ever, we need your support.
We are now working to pivot our business towards a digital future. Whilst challenging, this is an incredible opportunity for our organisation to innovate in response to your needs, and we welcome any suggestions for how we can evolve to the changing environment.
In the meantime, we send our best wishes to all members and encourage you to reach out if we can help in any way - at times like these it is important that we stand as one and work together.
He waka eke noa - We are all in this together
For the latest COVID-19 updates and information, please click here.