Tuesday, 12th May, 2020

Morning all. Level 2!

Except hospitality. Darn. 
TransTasman bubble: maybe, maybe not, which States, when?
Flights: how many, how much $ and when?
Budget: how much, to who?

I could go on, but you get the picture. Uncertainty remains for most of our member businesses in Queenstown.  But equally, Level 2, brings welcome relief as many of us escape lock down and head back to a very changed workplace.

There has been some great news this week, however.

Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management has announced that it will continue its funding to support temporary migrants who have found themselves here without income and no way to get home.  The emergency grant extends the food voucher system offered over lockdown and now provides accommodation and utilities grants. This provides welcome relief to landlords who have been homing some migrants for reduced or no rent (many of whom have also been paying for household consumables and utilities). You can read about the allowance here; the payments can also be backdated.  It is a credit to our Mayor Jim Boult, the team at QLDC, the Chamber and our social agencies that with our collective voice were able to achieve this temporary support.

Roll on Thursday - the big questions - will Millbrook's Kobe restaurant still make Sushi Taco's? Will the beer at Altitude Brewery still taste so good?

With you all.

Anna Mickell
CEO, Queenstown Chamber.
021 488 7809

Membership renewals

Membership manager Rebecca Viale will shortly be in touch to confirm your subscription details for the 2020-2021 year. Chances are there has been alot of change in your business. If you have time to ring 03 442 4854 or email (suye@queenstownchamber.org.nz) us to update your staff contact or billing details if would be greatly appreciated.  It is very important for our future planning to understand the size of our membership at this time. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

(Perceived) safety at Level 2 – a new customer service metric

Liz from ResearchFirst has shared some customer insight research they have undertaken with our membership. You can read it here. A new customer service metric has been dramatically introduced into your business – feeling safe. A third of people are frightened about going into public spaces next week. Up to one third of people will choose to shop, dine, or transact with you based on their perception of your safety and hygiene practices at Level 2. If they do not feel safe, that you are in control of your environment, they will go elsewhere.  

If you have questions about interpreting Level 2 in your business call the Covid19 business support phone line on 0800 50 50 96 or visit the Covid-19 website or the Hospitality Association website.

Regional Business Partners and Business Mentors - $380k spent last month in our district

Over 50% of government investment in Otago business advisory support has been spent with Queenstown and Wanaka business managers and owners.  
Over April, Regional Business Partners, administered by the Otago Chamber of Commerce, with funding from NZTE received enquiries from over 444 businesses in the QLDC territorial area, with 253 of them receiving action plans. A further 199 of these businesses receiving targeted COVID advisory professional assistance vouchers totalling $320k. A further 41 businesses received assistance from the usual RBP fund totalling $60k.

Regional Business Partners have been allocated an additional $21 odd million, on top of existing funding, to deliver these advisory services nationally at the time. NZTE has also funded additional Covid-19 business support assistance by way of a national phone line administered for the South Island by the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.  

We urge out members to take full advantage of these funded regional and national support services. Click here for all the details.

The Queenstown Chamber of Commerce is not receiving any government assistance, with the exception of the wage subsidy.
Coming out … support for our local media

Queenstown is blessed to have a lively and connected local print, digital and radio media community.  Owners of the legendary Mountain Scene, Allied Press, have announced a $3m advertising subsidy fund. Take the time to talk to your advertising partner during this time to see how your business can support them, as they support you.

Westpac Chief Economist Dominick Stephens 

Interesting chat with Dominick Stephens from Westpac yesterday.

Some of my notes (not Dominick's)  below, in no particular order, you can draw your own conclusions by watching the video here.

  • Expand the stimulus conversation from infrastructure spend to digital recovery!  
  • Job matching will be harder, we have reduced the pool of talent to just New Zealanders (and maybe Australians). New Zealanders cannot travel offshore to grow their skills and knowledge.
  • Supply chains may change – discomfort with reliance of sole supply of product from overseas – maybe more support for local manufacturing.
  • Don’t rely on Australians to solve your problems. They are going to be poor too, but the world is focusing on infrastructure builds, so mining should do ok.
  • Construction will slow. It happens after every recession.
  • Big firms will borrow and until this is paid back they will work on repairing balance sheets, not innovating. However, recovery when it occurs will be very vigorous. 
  • Exchange rates – Kiwi will stay, and go, lower.
  • Interest rates – staying low – negative OCR? – does not mean negative commercial rates.
  • Farming does not escape the pain …
  • Increasing discomfort with the untargeted, lack of proper probity approach to government spending, recovery needs to see more attention to where and how govt spending is done. Soon.