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We are on our own

May 25 2020 by Scott Stevens

We are on our own

Sometimes you get the idea that there is a perverse enjoyment in knocking Queenstown. The classic tall poppy syndrome. It may not be said but more what’s not said or not done. It feels like we are currently ‘in’ one of those times.

There is plenty of sympathy and promises but little concrete action from up north. Migrant workers without jobs are stuck, unable to change their visa status or get access to any help from Government apart from polite and not so polite go home messages from politicians and some industry sectors.

The budget package didn’t help much, just created more uncertainty rather than providing the clarity we were promised. Tourism is the life blood of this town and while we all want it to become more sustainable and the economy to be diversified, in the short term we need visitors to come, stay and spend in the local economy. Business is not looking for handouts it need assistance, while tourism rebuilds. Currently I am not seeing it and I get the idea that most tourism businesses are beginning to feel the same way. Queenstown will largely be left to our own devices, once again.

We are just commencing the painful process of rebuilding the economy; I hate that back to normal line- we are never going ‘back to normal.’ The lockdown was not a holiday where, when it’s over, you go back to work and it is just the same. The next few months will be very difficult. There are already plenty of shops gutted and empty and that’s likely to accelerate, but there will also be wins. Wins, such as the ski fields opening and flights returning, cafes, restaurants, and bars re-opening means we can socialise again. There will be new businesses that open as entrepreneurs see opportunity.

Queenstown attracts the best in the entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurs do well here, we punch above our weight with new enterprises bound to spring up. Its already starting to happen, business is just getting on with it.

Queenstown also looks after its own, which is something we have always done and will continue to do. Those that can, are giving their time through volunteering or generous donations as has been seen by the amazing results of the Basket of Blessings and the Wakatipu Greatest Needs Fund which has raised nearly seven hundred thousand for those who really are in need of help here in the Wakatipu.

We will get through this by relying on ourselves to rebuild our economy and support our own community. Relying on others is not in our DNA, nor is sitting around and waiting for action and clarity from Wellington.

David Gibbs
Queenstown Media Group

- Scott Stevens
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