The Earthquake Support Subsidy for Christchurch's small and medium enterprises: Perspectives from business owners

Ruth Fischer-Smith, 2013

Small Enterprise Research, Vol 20, Issue 1, 40-54


Following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, the government enacted an Earthquake Support Subsidy (ESS) to assist small businesses. By acting as a temporary pay cheque for employees, this policy was intended to alleviate immediate financial pressure on firms, enabling them to make more measured decisions regarding their future. In the months following the earthquake, this research conducted interviews with 26 owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on policy perceptions and experiences, including what impact, if any, the ESS had on their business operations. Correspondence with key national agencies, as well as local business support organisations, supplemented the interviews. This article frames its findings within the larger themes of SME relationships to the public policy process. It also touches briefly on comparative policy strategies of different national governments regarding post-disaster assistance programmes for SMEs.

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