Friday, 20th March, 2020

Hi everyone, and welcome to those members who have joined us in the last few days.

I would be lying if I said that I am not feeling shaken after the events of the last few days. Yesterday, after listening to the Ministers Twyford and Davis talk about the severity of this crisis, my thoughts turned to my family and our combined resources. I asked myself what do I need to do to help my family support ourselves as best as we can? We are having a family meeting this weekend to discuss this. 

Then, like many of our members,  I thought about our community. What do I need to do to support my community and help the businesses that I am here to serve? I have always believed that you can't separate business from community, and the events of the last few days, have never made this more clear.

Our response will be a shared one, business and community working together. In order to deal with these crises, we need to find calm in good processes and systems.

Our community response is working well. QLDC and SDHB are working to a good, planned pandemic response.  We have, within a matter of days, set up a business response and recovery group and are working on a plan to help our migrant community and have a way to log offers of voluntary help.  It is essential that we work cohesively to respond. Please consider working within existing support channels, rather than creating new ones at this stage. 

I have found working with Ivana from Big Hearted Leaders really helpful over the last year. Ivana, or a colleague, will be running Stop and Slow, a 20 minute Zoom workshop, twice per day, three days a week to help you breathe your way through. The details of these workshops/clinic/moment-for-yourself (call it what you will) is below. Put Zoom on your phone, find a quite space and join. We have two other response workshops available next week as well for you. 

Remember to get out into nature this weekend and enjoy the beautiful town we live in. Look after yourself, your team and your mental health. Some tips below to help. I kept it short.

Anna Mickell
Chamber CEO


Business response and recovery 

The Southern Lakes Business Response and Recovery Group is maintaining a website of local information on the QLDC website.  Bookmark this page.  

Money go round

It's the 20th of the month,  please let your suppliers know if you can't pay them in full, even a partial payment, or an indication when you can make payment will be appreciated. Help them plan their response to this situation as best you can.  

Help for affected workers

NZ residents or citizens - New Zealand citizens should be instructed to contact Work and Income (WINZ) by phone 0800 778 008 or NOTE: WINZ has now closed its offices and all enquiries should be directed to the 0800 number. New Zealanders can also use the social agencies below (food, counselling and other support). 

Migrant workers - There is currently no assistance available for migrant workers on a national level. Locally our social agencies have done great work in mobilizing to provide interim support by identifying those most in need. We are in the process of establishing a register of vulnerable migrants to enable us to contact this group of people and put in place a system for help. In the meantime, social support for migrants should be directed to Citizens Advice Bureau on 03 442 6799 (local) or 0800 367 222, Salvation Army or Happiness House in Queenstown and Community Networks in Wanaka. These agencies are now taking the contact details of this group of people and will ensure that they are included on the register and, with the wider community, get them the help they need.  

Wanting to help?

Volunteering Central is coordinating the volunteer response.  Click here to contact them.

Immigration queries

Immigration - Have questions about the impact of COVID-19 that aren’t currently answered on the website or on    Please email your questions regarding immigration to  with IMMIGRATION QUERY in the subject line.  Your questions will be collated immediately and sent to Immigration NZ who have committed to respond to the Chamber within 24 hours.  Please ensure you include your business name and contact details along with your questions.

There has been no changes to any of the visa conditions or settings at the moment. All visa conditions must currently still be adhered to. We understand that this is frustrating. We have given extensive feedback to INZ. They have advised two days ago that your feedback has been submitted to the minister for review. In the meantime, you must continue to act within the law.