‘Deep’ job cuts at Wayfare

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By GUY WILLIAMS

Wayfare boss Ian Jackson has finally broken his silence about a major restructuring at the Queenstown tourism giant, but isn’t saying how many jobs have been cut.

The former Qantas senior executive, who took over the chief executive role on a interim basis after the departure of long-time boss Richard Lauder in March, confirms to Mountain Scene he’s not renewing his six-month contract when it runs out next month.

Jackson, who’s twice put off an interview with Scene in recent weeks, says in an emailed statement this week he’d made a ‘‘personal commitment to all our people early on that I didn’t want anyone to feel like a number and I would not talk in numbers’’.

‘‘The cuts were deep, I have always acknowledged that, and it has been extremely difficult to lose so many dedicated and experienced people who have worked here for many years,’’ he says.

Most of the district’s big tourism players have been relatively frank about the jobs they’ve had to cut in the wake of Covid-19 and closure of the country’s borders.

Skyline Enterprises announced in May it was cutting more than half of its 1200 staff in New Zealand and overseas, about a third of them operating at the company’s Queenstown gondola and luge.

The same month, Ngai Tahu Tourism announced that 309 of its 348 staff would lose their jobs.

Some major resort hotels, and high-profile operators like Nomad Safaris, have also given numbers.

The Wayfare group’s stable of businesses includes Walter Peak High Country Farm and iconic steamship Earnslaw, and the Cardrona, Treble Cone and Soho ski areas.

As of Monday, the parent company and major subsidiaries Real Journeys and Go Orange were claiming the wage subsidy extension for 194 employees, down from the 420 staff it claimed the original wage subsidy for.

Jackson says the extended subsidy covers just over 80 per cent of the group’s permanent employees, not counting those of its skifield company Cardrona Alpine Resort.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz