close up of doctor holding vaccine recipient in her hand

Editorial

We need some answers

March 15 2021 by Joseph Mooney

We need some answers
What a month of ups and downs. The past few weeks have seen us in and out of Level 2 here in the south, which has caused further strain on our already suffering businesses.
Last week, I hosted National’s Spokesperson for Tourism Todd McClay in both Te Anau and Queenstown to listen to the concerns of our community.
What was clear from these meetings is our community needs clarity and transparency from the Government.
Any direction given at this stage would be better than the current situation, where businesses associated with the tourism industry here in Queenstown are being left to fend for themselves with no answers.
Last week, they announced a very basic plan to roll-out the Covid-19 vaccine which would see the general public being vaccinated by July.
As a small nation, a successful vaccine roll-out done efficiently and promptly would have had the opportunity to put us on the front foot of reopening our country when it was safe to do so.
By July, for some businesses here it will be too late.
It is evident our community is facing a challenge we have never seen before, and most likely, will not see again in our lifetime.
Small businesses in particular are struggling to keep their doors open and keep valued staff employed.
In some instances, owners are borrowing against their own home to keep afloat so they need a game plan from the Government.
I have again written to the Tourism Minister, seeking some guidance and answers from him and the Government about a Trans-Tasman bubble and support for our tourism
sector.
I’ve raised my concerns, which I know many of you also share, about the inaction from this Government to support our businesses suffering because of Covid-19.
National is calling for the Government to open the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia and provide much-needed relief for our desperate tourism sector.
National leader Judith Collins said last week New Zealand and Australia have both done well to reduce the threat of Covid-19 and we should now take the logical next step and get the travel bubble up and running.
Australia has proven a bubble can work.
We now need the Government to be open and transparent with us around getting a Trans-Tasman bubble to open.
This information would enable businesses to be able to plan and provide them with some certainty going forward.
At present, it is financial strain and uncertainty which is causing many of our small, family-owned and operated businesses who are reliant on overseas visitors, to close.
I have offered to host the Minister in Te Anau and Queenstown so he can see for himself what our businesses are going through and understand the dire situation many are in.
- Joseph Mooney