Business owners in Auckland's Newmarket say Westfield mall 'destroyed' their livelihoods

Business owners in Auckland's Newmarket say they've been kicked to the curb by their landlord - Westfield.

The company's left almost half of a once-busy street empty after it opened its new mall.

Compare Broadway, Newmarket's main street, with Nuffield Street. Once branded as the upmarket fashion centre of Auckland, it's now almost empty.

"They destroyed the street - we cannot survive like this," says Tasca co-owner Ali Arsan.

It's quiet because almost half the street's shops have moved into the new Westfield mall up the road. But a section of Nuffield Street is owned by Westfield, too.

"We're supposed to be a part of Westfield, but we've been left alone," Arsan says.

There are 10 empty shops on one part of Nuffield Street and it's only 120 metres long.

And there aren't any for-lease signs in the windows either. Local business owners who didn't want to talk on camera say they believe that's because Westfield is planning to build offices or apartments there.

But in the meantime, while the shops are empty, the business owners say they're suffering from the lack of foot traffic.

Arsan's restaurant Tasca has been there for nearly 15 years and employs 28 people.

He says profits have fallen 50 percent in the past six months, but he's been refused the rent reduction he asked for.

"All of a sudden you strip down everything and they want us to pay similar rents and we even had a rent increase in August," he says.

Westfield's owner Scentre Group says it's been supporting businesses on Nuffield Street and "will continue to do so as the centre and the surrounding retail and lifestyle precinct continues to evolve".

Arsan hopes Westfield's support includes filling the empty shops.

"I have sleepless nights - I'm really struggling. It's psychologically affecting me," he says.