By TRACEY ROXBURGH
Here we go, again.
Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult — while supportive of the government’s decision to move New Zealand to Alert Level 4 till, at this stage, tomorrow night — has described New Zealand’s latest lockdown as an ‘‘absolute kick in the teeth’’.
One Queenstown business says it’s staring down the barrel of losing at least $500,000 in revenue, having already lost that amount when the trans-Tasman bubble closed, while the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce boss says the organisation is on hand to provide support and advice to any business who needs it.
As of last night, there were 10 confirmed community cases of the Delta strain of Covid-19 in Auckland, however the government’s expecting that number to rise to 120.
Boult, who was in Auckland on Tuesday night, says there’s ‘‘no point’’ in complaining about the lockdown, ‘‘because it’s the right action for NZ to close us down’’.
‘‘We need to learn a lesson from what’s happened in New South Wales.
‘‘Hit it hard, that’s the way to go.
‘‘But it doesn’t take away from the fact this is another absolute kick in the teeth.’’
Boult’s mindful of how devastating the latest lockdown will be for businesses, believing part of the problem is the unknown factors.
‘‘No one knows what the end result will be and it’s not like we can play our way out of it.
‘‘Eventually it will be alright, things will come right — as I keep saying, the sun will come up, it’s just been behind the clouds for a while.’’
“Tens of millions” leaving Queenstown economy
HQ New Zealand managing director Rob Stewart-McDonald says the financial implications
on his business of the lockdown are immediate and significant.
On Tuesday evening, just before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country was moving to Alert Level 4, his team was putting the finishing touches on an event for a
conference being attended by about 200 people from across NZ.
‘‘We set everything up, and then took everything down again.’’
Due to leave tomorrow, they’re now scrambling to try to get back to their homes within the government’s 48-hour deadline.
Stewart-McDonald says two conferences scheduled for next week will ‘‘have to pull’’, because their delegates were due to arrive within the seven-day Auckland lockdown period.
There are two more scheduled during the last week of August, and seven in September.
‘‘If this is over in a week or two, then the impact won’t be huge from a financial perspective.
‘‘But if we lose September, it’s a much bigger impact.
‘‘We were probably billing $400,000 in September and double that in October, but half of
October’s already gone because that was Australian business.
‘‘Just the shutting of the trans-Tasman bubble cost us $500,000 in one month.
‘‘We’re one of many businesses — it’s tens of millions of dollars leaving the Queenstown economy every week.’’
Boss: ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’
Wayfare boss Stephen England-Hall says of all their interests, spread across the South
Island, the Stewart Island ferry is the only thing still operating at present.
That’s because it’s a critical link for food and medical services.
While the lockdown wasn’t unexpected, England-Hall says they’re ‘‘disappointed and frustrated’’.
‘‘From an organisational perspective and a business perspective it’s not great.
‘‘In fact, it’s pretty tough.
‘‘It’s one of those classic, ‘hope for the best and plan for the worst’ scenarios.’’
Wayfare’s companies — which include Real Journeys, Go Orange, Cardrona Alpine Resort
and Treble Cone — had, like many others, enjoyed bumper school holiday numbers.
Since then, visitation hadn’t ‘‘quite fallen off a cliff as much as we anticipated’’.
‘‘But, clearly, it’s not at a sustainable level yet.’’
England-Hall says at the moment the business’ key focus is looking after their thousands of employees and guests.
‘‘For a lot of people this is very stressful — the mental health and wellbeing of our employees is incredibly important to us and obviously we’re a large employer.
‘‘The impact that has on their communities and families is amplified.
‘‘We’re just very conscious that although it’s ‘three days of lockdown’ it can be stressful for people because it creates uncertainty.
‘‘We’re very conscious of that.’’
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce CEO Ruth Stokes says the road will be ‘‘bumpy for some time’’.
She’s encouraging business owners and employers to put their hand up for help if they need it.
‘‘Not just for your business, but for your own personal wellbeing and your staff.
‘‘The key thing is to look after yourself, look after your people and your business.
‘‘There are lots of opportunities for support, if you’re not sure where to go, come to us in the first instance.’’
The Level 4 lockdown is currently in place till midnight tomorrow.