Tuesday, 14th July, 2020

Dear Member,

Our first post COVID-19 B after 5 hosted by Blue Kanu was a very well attended event and the convivial mood suggested everyone was happy to be engaging in something approaching ‘normal’.  The importance of a connected and engaged business community has never been greater and the Chamber will continue to run a strong programme of events now that we can freely gather. 

I am often asked how things are going for the business community in Queenstown, is domestic tourism making a difference?  The answer is there is no single answer.  I have been making a point of taking a walk through the Queenstown CBD each Monday since the level 3 response came into effect and each week the streets are busier with people and more businesses are open.  In recent weeks, the sweet smell of hot wax wafting from sports stores, cars sprouting skis and boards from their roof racks and parking congestion on the ski areas give a sense that we are experiencing winter as normal.  Despite the good number of people in town in the last week, there will be few businesses that are truly experiencing a normal winter and the uncertainty of business levels outside of the school holiday period looms large.  We should be mindful that there are still many businesses that are not operating at all.

There are no fast or easy answers to restoring our visitor economy and we have to accept that it may never grow back as it once was.  Earlier confidence about the impending creation of a safe travel zone with Australia has been tempered with a fresh outbreak in Victoria reminding us all just how fragile our COVID-19 status is.  While we all want to see Australian’s return, we cannot risk being an outbreak hotspot and undermine Queenstown’s clean, green, and now healthy reputation.

I am very keen to hear from Queenstown businesses to ensure the Chamber voice is well informed.  I am always open to take calls and emails and I plan to begin a series of quick-fire surveys to members to build an overall view.  I encourage you to take 2-3 minutes to respond, surveys work best when everyone contributes.  This week I have 3 questions to give a view of the capacity that businesses are operating at.  The results will help make our case for further support with government, facts are more difficult to ignore than rhetoric.  Please contribute to my better understanding here.

This is our generations war, in the words of a great/controversial (you choose) war leader, we have no option but to find our way to ‘carry on’.

Craig Douglas

Westpac NZ Webinar Series

Chamber members heard from Hon. Grant Robertson, Minister of Finance a couple of weeks ago.  We had a brief conversation before the webinar went live and I got the impression he does understand the specific challenges that Queenstown faces.  No solutions were offered but during the webinar, we all heard Grant say that there was more support in the pipeline for Queenstown. You can be sure that we will be chasing his office for more information as quickly as possible – you all need it. You can see the webinar here.

Queenstown Chamber Membership Video

A huge thanks to the amazing team at Shotover Media for our latest membership video which was filmed at our last B After 5 event.  Shotover Media are a video production house based here in Queenstown so please reach out to them for your creative content needs as they do a great job.

Shotover Media will also be embarking on a challenge to shoot 36 promotional videos for 36 businesses in 36 hours in August to raise money for the Wakatipu Community Foundation. Email info@shotovermedia.com to find out how to get involved.

Destination Queenstown – Demand Mapping

The team at DQ have been doing some great work on estimating forward demand in Queenstown – no easy task given the lack of certainty on many fronts.  You can find this information on the DQ website here.  

Assistance for Foreign Nationals

Kia Kaha Queenstown Lakes Hub
To view next week’s programme or the recorded sessions available online please visit here:
Red Cross takes over Foreign National Assistance Programme
As you may be aware, Civil Defence has been stood down across NZ and the Department of Internal Affairs and the New Zealand Red Cross have taken over the Foreign National Assistance Programme.  Find more information in 9 key languages at www.redcross.org.nz/visitorcare

Visa relief
The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers.  More information: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/relief-temporary-migrants-employers-and-new-zealanders-who-need-work