$1.4m to help workers redeploy

The hard-hit Queenstown Lakes District has been given $1.4million in Government funding to help redeploy workers who have lost their jobs because of Covid-19.

The funding is part of a $36.72million Government package that has been allocated to regions most affected by the pandemic.

The funding would be used by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) recovery team in its efforts to support both community and economic recovery, with a primary focus on redeployment and retraining opportunities for people who had lost their jobs or had hours reduced as a result of Covid-19.

‘‘For example, QLDC is working with the Department of Conservation and the Otago Regional Council to help secure new conservation-related jobs,’’ QLDC economic development manager Peter Harris said.

Yesterday the council revealed it had provided more than $1.5million worth of welfare support since the operations team started a food voucher scheme.

This money could be claimed back from the government.

Roughly 7500 people registered for food, clothes, firewood and blankets.

At its peak, an average of 415 welfare assessment calls were made daily over the course of the lockdown. The team is still receiving between 200 and 250 registrations for support per day.

It is also partnering with government agencies to set up a community support service in Queenstown.

QLDC recovery team community lead Marie Day said the service will initially open at the end of next week with assistance from Immigration New Zealand, but will expand to include other services.

Other services which will be available include immigration lawyers and justices of the peace, along with travel advice and repatriation options.


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