Chance to speak on behalf of business


A Dunedin businesswoman is proud to have shared her views with the Epidemic Response Committee last week.

The committee reports to the House on matters relating to the Government’s management of the Covid-19 epidemic.

It is chaired by National Party leader Simon Bridges and includes representatives from other political parties.

Jones and Co managing director Ally Kelleher was invited to speak to the committee, via video, during its meeting on April 28.

Early into the lockdown, Ms Kelleher said she was not satisfied with the decisions the Government had made regarding businesses.

She believed it did not show enough support to business owners and the restrictions in place could have been easier.

So she sent a email outlining her views to some members of Parliament.

Most MPs replied, but she received the most interest from members of the National party.

Another of her emails reached Mr Bridges, and she later got a phone call to ask if she wanted to speak to the committee.

Although it was a surprise, she was “very keen to advocate for small businesses”.

“I did not expect it but [was] really thankful I had the opportunity to say what I thought.”

She appreciated the chance to “speak from the heart”.

“Sometimes you have got to take the challenge as it rises.”

She was the only representative from the South Island to speak that day.

While her cleaning services business was able to continue to operate during the lockdown, many of her clients were affected, which in turn impacted on her.

She said businesses did not want a “handout” but rather a “hand-up”.

She believed small businesses made worthy contributions and just wanted to know they were valued.