Chamber chief bows out


By Guy Williams

There’s been no shortage of praise for outgoing Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Anna Mickell, but the lady herself is keeping mum on her impending departure from the role.

Chamber chairman Craig Douglas said in a statement last Friday that Mickell will quit on June 30 after recommending her role be disestablished as part of a cost-cutting drive in the wake of Covid-19.

In the same statement, Mickell said while sad for her personally, the decision was “essential for the long-term health and sustainability” of the Chamber.

She was unavailable for comment this week, but Douglas told Mountain Scene a lot of feedback from members expressing “some surprise” as well as disappointment at the news.

The decision shows Mickell’s “deep understanding of the Chamber’s work and what we’ve got to be able to do going forward”, Douglas says.

It will enable the Chamber to deliver the “most amount of services” during a time of funding restraint.

“For the board, it was a case of ‘what options have we got?'”

He’s pleased Mickell, who’s a co-owner of The Health Media company, is staying in the resort and has offered her services in an advisory capacity.

He expects her to remain engaged with issues she’s “particularly passionate” about, including public transport and the district’s labour force.

Former Chamber board member and chairman Richard Thomas says the announcement came as a surprise.

“Sadly, she’s another casualty of Covid-19.”

Thomas, Destination Queenstown’s chairman, says it would’ve been a tough call for Mickell, who’s only been in the role since January last year.

“It’s not a nice situation to be in when you have to make decisions like that.”

She’s lobbied hard behind the scenes and will be missed, he says.

“She’s worked hard in the immigration space around skilled visas and migrant workforce issues, and was a key member of the Queenstown Lakes response team for the Covid-19 situation.”

Douglas is taking on a part-time general manager’s role in the interim. Two other roles, overseeing membership and event management, have been combined into a single, part-time position.

  • ¬†Additional reporting: Louise Scott