‘We have survived pretty well’

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult signals the reopening of the district’s tourism industry in June...
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult signals the reopening of the district’s tourism industry in June with a dawn bungy jump from AJ Hackett Bungy’s Kawarau Bridge site. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The Otago Daily Times asks prominent southerners how they have been getting through a year dominated by Covid-19. Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult told reporter Tracey Roxburgh he was so busy he barely had time to think about it. 

 
When I reflect on 2020 I think ... of how fortunate we are to have such a resilient community. Back in April when council commissioned its report from Infometrics, we were looking at complete economic disaster. While our position remains precarious, we have in the main survived pretty well. This is due to many factors, but in particular the sheer determination and ingenuity of those who make up this wonderful community.
 

I survived by ... being so busy I didn’t have time to think about the ‘what ifs?’. In my view, council has played an excellent role in steering the district in recent months. One of our challenges has been to draw awareness to the unique set of issues our district is facing and in doing so, ensure we had appropriate government support. I’ve had so many meetings this year — on Zoom, in person, at arm’s length and even in my driveway. It’s been a very big job.

I discovered I really liked ... yoga and Tai Chi! Our daughter, Victoria, isolated at home with her mother and I, and led morning family Tai Chi and yoga sessions as part of our ritual. I would never have guessed I would’ve enjoyed it so much.

I discovered I didn't like ... a few individuals who took a very short-sighted view of the situation we were in, concentrating on their own comfort zone with no thought for those who were really struggling.

I think 2021 will be ... challenging and hopefully rewarding. I’m pretty confident that we will get the Aussie bubble, sooner or later, which will inject some life into our tourism industry. It will also be the year we will need to start to make some steps towards true diversification of our local economy.

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