August 24 2020 by Scott Stevens
Like most New Zealanders, my mindset has changed, and I have become much more aware of where I am spending my money. Out of every negative, like a closed border to the world, comes a positive, like holidaying locally and buying local.
I would much prefer the money I spend goes to a locally owned and managed business or franchise, rather than offshore. It feels good to go local and it is the only way we can support our own economy. By narrowing the scope of the money-go-round to a back to basics barter chain whereby I spend my money with you, and you spend your money with me. Sounds simple enough, so long as you do not dig too deep into the definition of local. There are plenty of examples in the Wakatipu of highly valued employers, charitable contributors and over all worthy “local” citizens, who are multinational in ownership. Run locally by locals, in my mind is local.
The South can survive without international tourism including the Aussie bubble if we keep it local in our spending habits. Obviously, the lack of Aucklanders hurt the economy, but our population is nearing a critical mass where it can support itself. We just need to do much more than pay lip service to the go local, shop local, support local mantra. It is hard to give up the online shopping habit but the shop keeper in Guangzhou is not going to return their profits to our local community. The shop keeper down the road will.
We can go a long way to being self-sufficient in the South Island which will prove to be rather handy in more than just Covid circumstances. The cut in direct flights between the South and Auckland has meant a huge disruption to freight services. Particularly fresh fruit and veg supply. Going into our first lockdown it was all about toilet paper and lack of flour and yeast for bread. Now it is about micro greens and cabbages. We could be living off frozen peas and local Pinot before too long. Not too bad when you add in Cardrona lamb and homemade mint sauce.
Going local is a much more sustainable and feel good way to live. This is the positive out of the Covid negative. Seeing the yellow K-Jets chug out of Queenstown Bay with local families from all over the South. Hearing the tales of adventures our friends tell of recent holidays to Stewart Island and Riverton, Haast and Franz Josef. Seeing Arrowtown’s main street packed and all the bars and restaurants full. These are wonderful examples of locals reclaiming our local iconic tourism attractions. Why not? Get into it, go local and enjoy life. We cannot let Covid inconvenience get in the way of a good time.