Newsmakers in the Wakatipu

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Budd’s Twitter overload 

New Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd is urging his board to increase staffing at the local regional tourism organisation. Budd got the job after his third attempt – and despite barely getting his feet under his new desk says he’ll push for 11 more fulltime equivalents at the board’s next meeting. “Once Tony left and I started the tweeting I realised I’d need way more manpower. And if the board don’t give me what I want first time around, I’ll ask for it a second time and then, if need be, a third.” 

 

English in awe 

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, also the MP for Clutha-Southland which includes the Wakatipu, says his recent visit reconfirms to him how vibrant Queenstown is. “Off the record, it’s the only part of my electorate I enjoy visiting. The rest of it’s as dull as ditchwater.” English attended the local production of Showbiz Queenstown’s The Sound of Music and says the amount of talent blew his mind. “The amount of talent blew my mind,” he said later. 

 

Pole queen hots up 

Former Queenstown pole dancing temptress Raha Sangsari is returning to take over the Queenstown Pole Studio from owner Anna Ashton who is pregnant with twins. Sultry Sangsari says: “I’ve been in Sydney so coming back to Queenstown is a shock to the system ’cos it’s bloody freezing. In fact it’s so cold here right now that I’m thinking of changing the name of the business to South Pole Studio.” To acknowledge the ownership change, Sangsari held a special showcase of her best students’ routines, attended by special guest Clutha-Southland MP Bill English. “You don’t see that in Dipton,” English said later before adding: “Blew my mind.” 

Gandalf loves greasies 

Sir Ian McKellen, the actor who plays Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and upcoming Hobbit movies, says the best thing about Queenstown is the fish and chips. The Oscar-nominated star says when he returns to the Wakatipu his first stop is Aggy’s Shack in Queenstown Bay. “That blue cod and chip meal should be in Lonely Planet. Fergburger-smergburger.” McKellen says filming in the Wakatipu inspires him greatly. “The performances have been the best of my career. Sometimes, my talent blows my own mind.” 

Airport deal fallout 

Visiting Auckland Airport executives say Queenstown Airport and the community should thank their lucky stars the Auckland company is a shareholder. “Queenstown Airport would be nothing without us … nothing,” Auckland chief executive Simon Moutter says. Asked to comment, local business heavyweight and Community Strategic Assets Group member John Davies said: “Prick.” 

Shotover shocker 

Two boats under the stewardship of Shotover Jet came frighteningly close to being just miles apart sometime ages ago. John Thorburn, the chief executive of Shotover Jet owner Ngai Tahu Tourism, says they’ll be conducting a “root cause investigation” into the potential disaster which could have resulted in something being seriously blown out of proportion. “Whenever some-thing like this ends up getting made public, we conduct root cause investigations. Now, I actually have no idea what that means, but every time we’ve done one of the things it gets straight to the heart of the root of the nub of the cause of the matter.” 

Swing mishap ‘no biggie’ 

AJ Hackett is conducting an investigation into the safety of its Nevis Arc swing attraction after an Australian woman reckons she came loose from her harness during the activity. “I thought I was gonna’ die,” she told Australian TV. Asked to comment, AJ Hackett owner Henry van Asch said: “What’s the big deal? I mean, that’s the whole idea.” 

 

 

 

Key’s drug crusade 

Prime Minister John Key says it’s likely he’ll introduce random drug-testing for the New Zealand adventure tourism industry. “I accept that the front-liners in the Wakatipu generally perform pretty admirably given their intake. I don’t want to single out any region in particular but it can’t go on – party’s over, Queenstown,” he said at a press conference announcing the proposal. 

All of the above may or may not be a complete fabrication