This commercial rent idea from the government is a good solution.
So, why did Winston Peters hold it up so long?
Arguably, the solution has come too late for a lot of small businesses.
Those at the coalface have lined up today to say tenants and landlords needed this 2 months ago when they didn’t know how to pay their rent.
Since then, I’m hearing, they’ve already found ways around the problem. For some, they’ve solved it. But for others, they’ve agreed to harsh rent deals out of desperation or they’ve given up their leases.
I’m struggling to understand the logic behind Winston Peters holding this up for two months.
He’s not shy about it. He’s actually proud, seemingly of the fact he managed to cut out big businesses with staff over twenty at any site.
That’s nothing to be proud of. Why shouldn't big businesses also have the ability to negotiate their rent if others can?
This 2 month delay will have cost a lot of small businesses a lot of money and a lot of anxiety and if Winston Peters thinks it’s a smart move politically to go out there and tell small businesses he is the reason for the delay he he might want to think again.
The idea itself has merit. This is exactly the kind of approach that the government needs to take to this ongoing crisis.
We don’t want the government paying everyone’s bills. It's not sustainable, it creates artificial support and it means you and I eventually pay for it through increased taxes or government spending cuts.
What Justice Minister Andrew little has cleverly done is - instead of paying everyone’s bills – trust the landlords and tenants to sort it out between themselves and, if they really can’t reach agreement, only then the government helps them to sort it out.
Not forces them. Not overrides the current contract. Instead, helps through arbitration.
This creates a way for problems to get solved. Yes there’s still a bill. But it’s a lot lower than just paying all the bills.
And that is the approach that should be applied: problem-solving. Not bill-paying.
I think we’d all like to see more of that. Let’s just hope Winston Peters and his lot can get out of the way so that can happen.