By PHILIP CHANDLER
Arguably the Wakatipu’s biggest landlord is being praised for his generous support to his 30-plus local tenants.
Irish billionaire Eamon Cleary aggregated a large swathe of Queenstown CBD and Arrowtown commercial buildings before his death in 2012.
Now, in light of the Covid-19 crisis decimating tourism, his son Bernard has advised his tenants he’s substantially discounting their rent till the end of the year, with an indication there’ll also be support beyond then.
It’s thought rent was initially set at zero before being ramped up gradually.
Vicki Onions, who manages Queenstown’s popular Cookie Time, says her landlord’s been “fabulous”.
“I think it just gives us the confidence we can get through the next six months without considerable overhead risk.
“Having some kind of certainty means we can build our business plan, and we’re not working on a month-to-month basis of uncertainty.”
She says every offer of rental reduction, since the start of lockdown, has been driven by Bernard Cleary, and wasn’t requested.
Aotea Gifts director Richard Hanson, whose company has a Cleary-owned store in Queenstown Mall, says “there is still a long period of uncertainty before we see long-haul travellers”.
“This proposal gives businesses in Queenstown the confidence to make decisions as to their future.
“In many cases this will allow them to survive and their staff to keep their jobs.”