Auckland Business Chamber says flooding will cost businesses hundreds of millions, fears companies will shut permanently

The economic impact of the Auckland flooding is still unknown, but the city's Business Chamber has an eye-watering early estimate. 

The upper North Island has been hit been a deluge of rain, which has seen four people die, 19 homes red-stickered and 700 still without power.

A state of emergency is in place in Auckland and the Waitomo district.

Auckland Business Chamber chief executive Simon Bridges told AM on Monday the effects of the flooding could cost businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.

"It's major. I mean, obviously, there are many impacts, but the business one is a really big one and we need to get business back on its feet as soon as we can," Bridges told AM co-host Ryan Bridge.

"The economic effect of that is that AA insurance said this is the biggest event they've ever seen in New Zealand outside of [the] Christchurch [earthquake] for them. So it's more than tens of millions. I suspect it's more than hundreds of millions."

Auckland Business Chamber CEO Simon Bridges
Auckland Business Chamber CEO Simon Bridges Photo credit: AM

Bridges said it'll take quite some time for Auckland businesses to get back on their feet after the deluge of rain. 

But he fears some that were already struggling before the flooding might have to shut down permanently.

"I think it's entirely possible [businesses could close because of the floods]. I think the other thing is around insurance," Bridges said. 

"Even if you've got full insurance, the time that it takes to get the claim assessed and all of those things mean that, again, it's a cash flow issue. 

"There'll be some with partial insurance and what we're seeing is a surprising number, and it's all anecdotal, but a surprising number that isn't insured." 

The former National Party leader called on Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown and the Government to help financially support businesses without insurance through this.

"I think what is most likely is the Mayoral Relief Fund. That's very flexible and it's sort of a well-worn path," he said.

"The other thing I would say, though, is many hands make light work. So, I mean, there's also a real role for the insurance companies and the banks here, and it's been good to see some of them step up with understanding policies about deferring payment, that's essential."

Watch the full interview with Simon Bridges above.