Jobs programme a relief for struggling West Coast

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
A West Coast skydiving company says a job programme has been a life saver, and they are relieved it will continue for another year.

The Department of Conservation's Jobs for Nature has employed 169 people on the West Coast, doing environmental work when people had a lull in tourism work.

Rob Stewart from SkyDive Franz and Fox Glacier said due to Jobs for Nature they have been able to keep half their highly trained and specialist staff, even though their bookings dropped by 95 percent.

He said they were yet to see much of a pickup from the loosening of the border restrictions with Australia, and with the rest of the world from July 31.

"If they were to pull the plug now [on Jobs for Nature] that would be a bit devastating for us, but given we've got another 12 months that should make a huge difference."

Stewart said they were hoping for a great ski season and that people may choose to extend their visit with a trip to the West Coast.

The Jobs for Nature scheme meant they and other businesses can stay open to offer services for the few tourists coming by, and thereby avoid their towns turning into ghost towns, he said. 

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