IN an initiative to kick-start the local economy, an Invercargill lawyer created a personal project to help businesses “get back on their feet” from the effects of Covid-19.
Mee & Henry Law Ltd director Liz Henry started to think of ways she could help her community and created initiatives in each of New Zealand’s alert levels to boost the local economy.
Among her ideas was the distribution of meals for essential workers and vouchers of about $1000 for each of her employees to be spent at local businesses.
“It is a really challenging moment for everyone. Me and my husband were talking about how we could make life easier for some people.”
When the country was at Alert Level 3, she bought $5000 worth of food and distributed it to essential workers.
“We wanted to do something to thank them for the work they did for our community while those businesses would have some income to pay staff and bills. We bought $500 from 10 different businesses and redistributed their products for community testing centres, GPs and pharmacy staff.”
At Alert Level 2, she took a step further and, with her 15 employees, created a list of local businesses they wanted to help.
Going by that list she bought vouchers and gave them to her staff to be spent in 60 days.
Mrs Henry also paid for a weekend trip for them to explore Southland’s treasures.
“They couldn’t choose which ones they got. Our focus, really, was on encouraging local spending.”
Mrs Henry believed if every full-time worker in Southland spent $50 of their weekly income at local businesses, it would put about $2.5 million into the region’s economy.
“If everyone does their little bit, it does make a huge difference to our local economy.”