‘Don’t axe foreigners’

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By MATTHEW MCKEW

Protecting Kiwi families is vital, but forgetting foreign workers will come back to bite business, a Queenstown hotelier says.

The Rees Hotel boss Mark Rose says while there’s social media scaremongering around the pandemic, anybody who thinks their business will not be affected must be “taking drugs”.

With travel restrictions in place and mandatory self-isolation for arrivals into the country, the hotel will run at just 20 per cent occupancy next week.

Rose says he’s aiming to carry his staff through the crisis, but if tough decisions have to be made, he’ll prioritise locals.

“I have got to look after my people with families.”

But, he warns axing overseas workers will have ramifications for the ski season, if access to New Zealand from most of the world remains restricted.

“All the people who run our ski lifts, make our beds, run our dining rooms and bars and things, they aren’t going to get visas.”

Rose is taking a 50 per cent pay cut and believes other executives around Queenstown will be doing the same.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz