The economic impacts of COVID-19 are real and are being felt.
September 11 will see a further reshaping of the retail landscape here in Johnsonville. The Warehouse has confirmed that as the closing date for their store on Johnsonville Road.
This confirmation adds to the closures we’ve seen with Michael Hill Jeweller, Paper Plus and Cracker in recent weeks.
While earlier announcements by NZ Post and Kiwibank regarding the closure of their shared premises in Johnsonville were not related to COVID-19, the cumulative effect significantly impacts retail and services availability.
The recent news that Stride Property Group are again reviewing developments plans for the Johnsonville Mall adds further uncertainty as to the future amenities in the area.
The fact that no formal plans had been published, nor any “spades in the ground” prior to COVID-19 points strongly to challenges with the mall development being attributable to issues not solely related to COVID-19.
As much as these challenges and changes impact shoppers and residents, we should not lose sight of the very real and personal impact they have on staff affected by the closures.
Their incomes and prospects will be hit by those decisions and we should be mindful of what it all means for them.
Statistics NZ has reported the quarterly rise in the number of people underemployed since 2004 and there are now more than 212,000 on the Jobseekers benefit and COVID-19 income relief payment.
With analysts, including Treasury, still predicting unemployment to peak at around ten per cent, there is worse yet to come and it will be more widespread than what we see in Johnsonville.