By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce’s new chair — one of the first ever from the construction sector — promises she’ll keep hammering away on the resort’s labour-shortage issue.
Angela Spackman was selected for the role this week after Craig Douglas stepped down due to a new business acquisition taking up his time.
Spackman, who’d been deputy chair for two years, co-owns Formatt Bespoke Joinery with her husband, Reuben Bogue, and says she’s been passionate about representing the small-to-medium and construction sectors on the 12-member board.
She’s the only construction rep apart from co-opted member, Alistair Snow.
‘‘The construction sector had a labour shortage prior to Covid and I don’t see it getting any better in the short term,’’ she says.
She’s in no doubt it’s the biggest issue the resort faces.
‘‘That’s currently what we’re talking about with [government] Ministers and that is, first of all, keeping the great people we have and allowing them to stay longer, and then looking at what skills we need and importing them, because there’s not a huge unemployment pool we can pull from.’’
Spackman says with nearly 600 Chamber members, ‘‘we are quite a strong voice, so when we are speaking to [local and national] policy-makers, they have to sit up and listen to us’’.
That membership size, she adds, also means it can provide great networking and upskilling opportunities.
‘‘We get incredible speakers down here.
‘‘I don’t know if it’s just ‘wanna come to Queenstown’ that’s the pull, but we’re able to do that because those events are so well attended.’’
Wellington-raised Spackman and Bogue, who’s originally from Alexandra, saw the networking benefits of the Chamber soon after buying Formatt in 2016, after 10 years living in Sydney.
Joining ‘‘was the first thing we did when we moved into town because that was a way for us to connect with people like us and get to know the lie of the land and who’s who and all that.’’
Succeeding Douglas, who’s staying on the board till November’s AGM, she’s aware she’s got ‘‘very big shoes to fill’’.
‘‘He has really gone above and beyond for the Chamber’’ — referring especially to him temporarily managing the Chamber before new CEO Ruth Stokes came onboard.
Spackman, thought to be the first female chair since the ‘90s, is also looking forward to working with Stokes — ‘‘she’s got a lot of get-up and go’’.
Meanwhile, local lawyer Scott Donaldson’s the new deputy chair.