The new tourism minister addressed some key issues facing the Whakatipu during his first visit to the resort on Wednesday , but only scratches the surface when it comes to housing workers.
Here to launch the ‘Better Work Action Plan’, Peeni Henare highlights the plan’s focus on providing good conditions and better pay for tourism workers, particularly in hospitality.
But while setting employment standards and providing education are key, Queenstown’s rental housing crisis may be the most immediate issue.
Henare agrees while the infrastructure issue here isn’t a new one, it’s being felt more acutely recently.
‘‘We’ve had the chance to look to how we might support infrastructure here, in order to have the kinds of workers and population here to serve the tourism sector.
‘‘My job is to advocate with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to make sure we can do that.’’
He says he’s had a ‘‘good discussion’’ with Queenstown mayor Glyn Lewers and has heard his ideas, including ways fast-track consent laws can be used to help.
‘‘There’s already been examples of that both locally and elsewhere, where we can look towards how we can achieve that,’’ Henare says.
He says it’ll take time, due to labour shortages in the building sector and increased cost of materials, and he’s ‘‘very realistic about the challenge in front of us, but we’ve got to start some where’’.
Henare acknowledges the role of government, iwi and council in finding a solution, noting there are examples of success, it just needs to be ‘‘supercharged’’.