NZSki boss James Coddington is walking the talk – he’s foregoing his pay till all three mountains open.
Coddington joins his 400 seasonal Queenstown staff who’ve been without income for four weeks due to lack of snow – because “I can’t ask others to do what I’m not willing to do myself”.
“I feel very strongly about the staff’s plight at the moment and as a leader of the company I feel I also need to do what I can in the situation that we’ve all found ourselves in,” he says.
Coddington – who only revealed his stand when approached by Mountain Scene – says he asked the company’s payroll to withhold his pay from June 20 – despite continuing to work.
“I’m doing this off my own back. This is me doing what any other CEO would do in the current challenges. This is not a PR stunt.”
Coddington is still working long hours every day to run the company and organise daily feeds, community work and activities for his staff.
Seasonal workers agree in their contracts to not be paid when the mountains are closed.
“I’m only one person in a leadership team which are all doing their best at this tough time,” Coddington says.
He also says he’s only told his senior management team about his pay decision and not the board of directors.
“I am working as hard as I can right now and I am doing everything I possibly can to ensure the mountain’s open as soon as we can. I’m doing everything I can to ensure the staff are looked after.”
NZSki’s Canterbury field Mount Hutt opened for the first time this season on Monday and Coronet Peak was scheduled to open today after days of snow-making.
Coddington says it’s a “huge relief” that Queenstown’s premier field is opening.
“It’s fantastic for the community. Not just NZSki – but the many operators, businesses and families who’ve been waiting for the snow. It’s been a very challenging time.”
The Remarkables remains closed, but Coddington says snow-making is helping the ski field get closer to opening.
“It will be soon, based on how much snow we’ve been able to make over the past few days,” he says.
We just need a bit more before we can open.”