We haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet — come to think of it, I’m actually not sure if too many people down our way have.
Infactually (it’s a word, I decided), I’m reasonably confident your predecessor, Iain, only visited us once during his tenure.
Roughly 757 days ago, which is a long time between drinks, isn’t it?
A lot’s changed since then, Kris, but immigration’s still a hot topic in our parts.
For some businesses, sorting out the kinks will be the difference between survival and closure.
I totes appreciate it’s not your fault — you only got the Immigration reins in July, after all, and there’s been a fair bit for you to deal with and get your head around since then.
But you’ve clearly done something right ‘cos on Monday they gave those reins back to you (and hopefully you’ll get to keep hold of them for three years).
Which is why we’d really like to meet you.
We’re so excited for you to visit, we’ve decided to start a cheeky wee counter — we thought about starting it at 757, but decided that’s not fair
It’ll hang out on the front page of Mountain Scene till you pop down to say ‘hi’ to us and actually talk to the people on the ground, yourself, about what’s going on here, immigration-wise, and why we’re being so loud and annoying about our issues (BTW, we’re not sorry).
Just, FYI, we’ve got one hanging out in the background for our new Tourism
Minister, Stuart, too.
We don’t want you to be offended.
It’s just a whole bunch of people down our way put their ticks in the red box last month.
Which is a sign of faith in this government and what it’s been doing.
I suppose in the past your party could have got away with not really hanging out with us very often because you thought we were all in the blue corner.
That doesn’t wash any more — at least not based on last month’s election results.
A wee birdy tells me there’s an immigration taskforce which will, apparently, come to Queenstown soon to have a yarn with some good people up against it business-wise about their immigration issues and report back to you.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome.
But maybe you could also hop on a plane to spend time in our neck of the woods and have a good old-fashioned natter to our businesspeople — and the ones in Wanaka and Central, too — about what they’re going through right now and how you could help?
Some of them have got some wicked-smart ideas, you see, which might be useful for you to hear.
Maybe Stuart could even come with you (two birds, one stone)?
If the birdy’s right and there’s a taskforce packing its bags, it’s a positive and welcome step to hear we’re being heard.
It’s just that if they have to come down here, meet people, write a report, get the report reviewed and edited and signed off with recommendations to you … that could take a little minute.
Good things take time, we know, but we’re kind of running out of it.
I popped into a couple of shops at the weekend and I nigh on turned around and walked back out of one when my eyeballs were assaulted by Christmas trees everywhere.
Horrified I was, Kris.
But the truth is Santa’s due here in seven weeks.
So we’ve only got that long to gear up for, hopefully, a banger of a summer with town chock-full of domestic visitors.
It’s just that as it stands, there might be a whole bunch of businesses not best-placed to welcome them.
And, if the status quo continues being, well, the status quo, that’ll only get worse.
Look, Kris, if we have to wait till Christmas Eve for some good news to help get our businesses through summer, even if it’s just a temporary reprieve, I’m sure we can and we’ll be freaking delighted to unwrap that press release.
Question is, how long do you reckon we’ll have to wait to talk to you ourselves?