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Millbrook Resort and Nomad Safaris are the latest Queenstown businesses to announce redundancies....
Millbrook Resort and Nomad Safaris are the latest Queenstown businesses to announce redundancies. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Millbrook Resort and Nomad Safaris are the latest tourist operators to announce redundancies in Queenstown.

Yesterday Millbrook, which employs 290 staff, confirmed it was consulting workers on job cuts, but would not say how many.

Nomads owner David Gatward-Ferguson said he had to axe 43 jobs, citing uncertainty over the timescale or conditions for moving to a transtasman arrangement and Alert Level 1.

It follows news key operators Skyline and Ngai Tahu were also making significant redundancies.

Accommodation, cruise and vehicle rental company Jucy also confirmed it was “really, really seriously” considering cutting jobs after revenue was “decimated”, chief executive of rentals Tom Ruddenklau said.

Millbrook, the luxury golf resort outside Arrowtown, received nearly $2million in wage subsidy from the Government.

Director of operations Brian Howie would not confirm numbers, but said consultations with at-risk staff had begun.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure we are giving staff as much notice as we can about what's likely to happen.”

He said nobody would be officially laid off until after the wage subsidy expired.

“It’s a reduction in numbers across all departments but not to the point where we’re closing any particular part of the business.”

The departments included accommodation, hospitality and the resort's golf course.

Millbrook Resort and Nomad Safaris are the latest Queenstown businesses to announce redundancies....
Millbrook Resort and Nomad Safaris are the latest Queenstown businesses to announce redundancies. PHOTO: ODT FILES
On a positive note, Mr Howie said in recent years New Zealanders had made up 50% of the resort’s overall visitor numbers.

“If we can get the transtasman bubble started as soon as possible, and in time for the ski season, I think that’s the sort of boost the tourism industry is really needing at this time.”

Mr Gatward-Ferguson said his business would revert to the husband-and-wife operation it started out as 26 years ago.

He described it as tough but said

the company could not afford to “carry costs on the hope the Government is going to do something”.

“That’s all there is, hope. But you can’t eat that.”

Clutha and Southland MP Hamish Walker echoed concerns on uncertainty.

Just how many New Zealanders are now reliant on welfare support in Queenstown is unknown.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Anna Mickell said the data provided by the Government was not specific enough and was included with the West Coast and Southland.

Without this data, Ms Mickell said it was impossible to know what support was needed, to plan for future employment needs and to assist the education sector.

“We don’t know how many New Zealanders are affected. We have better data on our migrant community because the community five weeks ago got ourselves together and went and did it.

Ms Mickell said there was also a “desperate need” to know what resources the Ministry of Social Development was going to put into the resort.

She said the ministry had only four people based in the town, just one of them focused on jobseekers and it was not enough to deal with the “magnitude of social change that is about to happen here”.

The chamber has been told by its members that small businesses were making cuts of up to 50% of staff, while bigger operators were in some cases shedding 70%-80%.

Tourism minister Kelvin Davis

pointed to wage subsidy support.

“In the end, companies have to assess their own situations and make the best decisions possible for their own future and sadly, in some cases that will mean job losses.”

AJ Hackett Bungy, the operator of the world’s oldest bungy jump, yesterday said it had retained all 220 of its staff, aside from a “handful of seasonal workers who were due to depart”.

In Invercargill, Transport World, has cut 12 staff, equating to 30% of its workforce.

Executive director Jocelyn O’Donnell said all staff affected by redundancies would receive the Government's wage subsidy in full. — Additional reporting Hugh Collins.

matthew.mckew@odt.co.nz


 

Comments

Looks like AJ Hackett is the only one that does business properly.

As for the socialist Nat MP, get a grip.

Economically the carnage is only just starting. Time to start producing & travelling domestically as much as we can, since the past cash-cows of NZ's economy (education, tourism and non-food exports) will take years to recover.

Good idea Otagoideas, However I just wonder how many of us whom still have jobs after 5-6 weeks of sitting at home will have the balls to ask our 'on a knifes edge' employer for some holiday time off and R+R ........not me!.....might get more time off than bargained! Perhaps next year. Tread carefully out there peeps.

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