Message from the top: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses the media at Coronet Peak last Friday


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says working holiday visa holders will be part of the solution to labour crises in the tourism and hospitality industries.

At Queenstown’s Coronet Peak last Friday, Ardern, joined by Tourism Minister Stuart Nash, told Mountain Scene the government’s changing how New Zealand markets itself as a working holiday visa destination.

‘‘We traditionally have not marketed working holiday visas for NZ, but these are unprecedented times.

‘‘NZ has a significant amount to offer, Queenstown even more so.’’

Ardern says now’s the time to market and is confident NZ will succeed in attracting visitors on working holiday visas, particularly from northern hemisphere markets.

‘‘When you think about the reasons that people consider a working holiday, it’s the experience that they’ll have not just the work that they’ll do … and I think to those other markets, we are very attractive.’’

Nash acknowledges building up the labour force will take time, but given expectations NZ’s tourism numbers won’t match pre-Covid levels for at least three or four years, there’s time.

‘‘We build up the workforce as tourist numbers build — so I don’t think people need to be particularly worried about being completely inundated.’’