Tourists behind Queenstown flood likely to get off


The owner of a Queenstown cake shop – wrecked by water damage – has forgiven the two backpackers nabbed for flooding her business.

Baker Jaimie Stodler arrived at her Cup & Cake store down Searle Lane on Valentine’s Day last week to find water flooding out her front door.

It was one of five downstairs businesses drenched when two hammered British tourists allegedly broke first-floor hostel Nomads’ sprinkler pipe by swinging on it.

The tourists, charged with intentional damage, are eligible for diversion.

That means they’ll have their wrists slapped by police rather than getting a conviction.

“That’s good,” Stodler, who is a MasterChef New Zealand TV show contestant, says.

“It was a real bummer to deal with but it’s not worth ruining their lives over. I’m not going out of business; it was just a shitty Valentine’s Day.

“We’ve all been a jackass when we’re drunk.

“I’ve swung from things, let’s be honest, in Queenstown. I hoped they weren’t going to make an example out of them. I wouldn’t want to be part of that.”

Stodler says Cup & Cake, off Church Street, will need a new ceiling, bench tops and lights.

Firefighters were called to Nomads shortly after 4am when the pipe broke – sending hundreds of litres of water through the budget hostel and down into Cup & Cake, Devil Burger, Below Zero Ice Bar and Cowboys Bar.

The tourists were granted interim name suppression when they appeared before a registrar at Queenstown District Court on Monday.

They are due to attend Queenstown police station to talk with an officer. 

Queenstown police senior constable Chris Blackford says the total repair bill for the affected businesses could add up to a six-figure sum.

Stodler: “I wouldn’t want to say a specific number for us but it’s one of our biggest grossing days of the year.

“At first I was like ‘oh my God’. It was big – flooding out the door.

“It’s like a bar being closed on New Year’s. Overall [with repairs] we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars.

“But in business this stuff happens. It sucks and it’s annoying but it happens.

“It’s a good reminder of how important insurance is.

“I pay it every month and it’s a good thing I remember,” Stodler tells Mountain Scene.

“All’s good back in cake land,” she says.

Stodler expects she’ll have to close again for repairs but her business insurance will cover loss of earnings, once the $500 excess is paid.

Police could make paying the businesses’ insurance excess part of the diversion requirements, along with charity payments, some community work and apology letters.

Stodler says she’s spoken to the building’s other tenants, with the exception of Below Zero Ice Bar, and they’re philosophical about the damage.

“We’re inconvenienced but we’re all human and know that shit happens.”