Thursday, 30th January, 2020

2020 has certainly announced itself!

We woke bleary eyed on the 1st wondering why the Remarkables had turned a pinkie-orange colour. The weeks rolled on with stories of fires, fundraising and car accidents. Still not February, we have had a pandemic scare, with serious commercial, if not health, implications for New Zealanders. Grant Robertson announced a massive pre-election spend up (with Queenstown getting $90m odd) and transport minister Phil Twyford suggested that travel demand management and mode-shift should be reflected in the regional transport plans being developed. Seems we are back at work with a hiss and a roar!

An update on our advocacy and other projects below.

Transport

A big hat's off to the work by the Way To Go (ORC, QLDC and NZTA) planning team for the transport investment announced for Queenstown. Although a first glance this type of investment can seem like pre-election lottery, it is not. There has been a massive amount of planning, advocacy and consultation work undertaken by the mayor, his executive and community groups (including the Chamber) to prepare cohesive district plans, and advocate for them nationally and regionally. Despite media commentary to the contrary, much of these funds locally will be spent making non-car transport a desirable and realistic option, with new bus lanes, a bus hub and underpasses being built.

Your investment in the Chamber means that the business community will continue to be represented during the consultation as these projects unfold, and as we lobby for new ones.

On a more practical transport topics:
• Lake Hayes direct bus! Fantastic! Loving the ‘no bus’ Camp Street, so much cleaner and quieter to have those diesel engines moved over to Stanley Street. Still lots to do to improve our public transport system, but it’s important to stop and appreciate these improvements.
• If you are tempted now to take the bus to town, life is easier with the Real Time tracking of your bus on the Orbus Queenstown website. You need to click into the route, then look for the Real Time tracking link.
• Those of you following us on Facebook will have seen the massive response to our post on Air New Zealand down check in at 5 Earl Street (opposite the Novotel). What a stellar service, drop your bag 90 mins before a domestic flight or two hours before an international one and head off and enjoy the day. $15.00 per booking check in. Details here.
• Street bike parking is at a premium this time of year. Church Street carpark has free, covered, luxury bike parking with your name on it.

Labour

I continue to work with QLDC and a range of member representatives, within a working group called MahiQL, to improve access to labour to the Queenstown-Lakes region. The major work undertaken this month has been working with other business membership organisations, economic development teams and commercial representatives to propose who should represent the Otago districts and region on the new Otago Regional Skills Leadership Group (RSLG). This group, one of 15 nationally, will provide demand side (that’s you, the employer) advice that will shape policy development on workforce requirements for the region (immigration, education etc). Our proposal needs to be with Minister Jackson by the end of the month.

We have collaborated with Queenstown Media Group, Ignite Wanaka and QLDC to create a short, snapshot survey on the state of our labour market across Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago. If you run a business (either owner or manager), we would love five minutes of your time to respond to this survey. We will use the results to continue our advocacy work. Click here to take the five-minute survey now.

RealMe identification services are now available in Queenstown at the AA in Hawthorne Road in Frankton. Finally.

Coronavirus

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) informed the Chamber yesterday that student and visitor visa processing in their Beijing office (by 250 staff) has been stopped due to the extension of holiday office closures until February 3. They are attempting to move this workload to other offices, however they warn that delays will be inevitable and the end date of February 3rd is subject to change. They will continue to keep us up to date.

Local visitor levy

Update this morning from DIA on local visitor levy. Will be in a position to report progress to members within the next week or so.

Aurora Commerce Commission Application

The independent consumer advisory panel, of which I was a member, has completed their report that will be submitted to the Commerce Commission as part of their application to lift their costs and charge consumers more. This report can be read here. Next steps are that the Commerce Commission will now seek their own consumer feedback as part of their review of the application. I will keep you posted on this process. The Chamber remains concerned that there is inadequate planned investment in the power infrastructure for our district’s growth.

Other things

If you haven’t driven (pedaled or walked) up Gorge Road for a while, it’s worth cruising by to look at the cleared site of Te Pā Tāhuna – the old College site – ready for the new housing build to begin. There will be nearly 400 new homes, with Ngāi Tahu Property working together with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to ensure about 100 of those will be available to eligible KiwiBuild home buyers. We welcome the team developing this important development to the Chamber.
________________________________________
Dates for the diary:

• 5 February: Join me at our first new member morning tea for 2020. I'd love to connect and hear more about your business and any issues you may have.

• 19 February: Business after 5: David Reid Homes Queenstown

• 20 February: Building Block: How to lead and influence - Dr Amanda Foo-Ryland

• 25 February: Building Block: Culturally diverse workplaces - Miriam McKenzie

• 26 February: Business Before 8 with KiwiBank

• 19 March: Deloitte Business & Banter, Winehouse

• 2 April: epay Chamber Golf Tournament, Millbrook Resort - registrations open soon

• 5 June: Westpac Chamber Women’s Conference, Hilton - registrations open soon
________________________________________
Click here to register for events

Kind regards
Anna Mickell
Tel 021 488 709

Apologies for grammatical hiccups. Written without the assistance of a communication professional.