Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020

Good morning all,

Only six more sleeps until a takeaway Pad Thai. Obviously I am so pleased for our members who are able to continue to trade now, at some capacity, next week, but sadly, for the majority, the level three announcements do not stop the slow slide into further debt or, for some, insolvency.

The Prime Minister was candid on the television news show Breakfast yesterday morning that “no one knows yet how long we will be at Level three." Let us hope just two weeks does the business and we can move forward with more positivity.

Business and financial commentators have started the government’s rallying cry this morning on National Radio. If you have a big balance sheet, it is your duty, like government and the Reserve Bank, to help out and get the economy travelling again. Step out of your comfort zone, borrow big, continue to feed your staff, suppliers, and customers. Get your bank and your shareholders on your side to do so.

As far as balance sheets go in New Zealand, they do not come much bigger than Ebos, who do the heavy lifting for the New Zealand and Australian medicine and medical consumable health supply chain (amongst other things).  The Australian-based chief executive John Cullity does not seem to have heard the rallying cry and is telling NBR reporters that “most of the group’s businesses will continue to operate … although consumer demand remains uncertain." He reassures the market that the business has “a strong balance sheet and liquidity’’ but stops well short of offering EBOS up as a vehicle for economic stimulation. I suspect that he will not be alone with this approach, how will our large hotel owners respond? 

I have been reading and watching some great commentary on business matters on the NBR website, including a two-part comprehensive overview of the New Zealand property market through a Covid-19 lens by Nigel Mayson, who lived in Queenstown in the 80s and 90s, and had property interests here until last year. It is a paid service, but there has never been a better time to support independent journalism.

I have been reticent about asking members to take part in surveys at this time, but the Auckland Chamber of Commerce has launched a three question membership survey yesterday. I thought it might be interesting to compare the answers of Queenstown businesses owners/manager to those in Auckland.  We have asked the exact same questions, let's see how our answers compare to business owners at the other end of the country.  Click here to start the survey. It takes less than a minute to finish.

Tune in this Friday @midday for a second business update from Mayor Boult who will discuss the economic outlook, welfare situation, shovel ready projects, govt assistance for SME's, request to govt for boarder sharing with Aussie, followed by a Q & A session. Details below - open to all businesses in the district. 

Travel well guys. See you soon - I hope.

Kind regards
Anna Mickell, CEO
Phone 021 488709


Free employer advice line (wage subsidies etc)

Otago Southland Employers Association (OSEA) are extending their employer advice line to all our members. Call 0508 656 757 to speak to an employment advisor.  I have accepted this kind offer on behalf of our members. 

Influenza vaccinations - order your staff vaccines now

The new date or non-subsidised vaccinations starts from 28/04/20. If you wish to take advantage of the Chamber Vaccine offer, please fill in the attached form and return to suye@queenstownchamber.org.nz. Please note that we are collecting payment on behalf of the pharmacies. Payment will need to be made before you can receive your vaccinations.
 
Five Mile Pharmacy is also offering vaccinations, but is not included in the Chamber offer. Please ring them directly for booking time, or visit the pharmacy.

Social assistance

There are now over 5000 plus people registered with the EOC Welfare team now. The unmet need is still increasing and this is expected to continue. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance with housing, food or healthcare needs, please encourage them to register with the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) - www.qldc.govt.nz/covid-19#need-help

I am working on behalf of members, and with the social agencies and QLDC, to advocate for emergency living costs to be covered for this group of people. 

WINZ Counselling Allowance

If you need help with counselling fees, you may be eligible to claim a subsidy from WINZ to use towards sessions. Please click here for more information.