NZSki turns down tourism funding offer

Paul Anderson. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Paul Anderson. PHOTO: ODT FILES
NZSKI has rejected an offer of funding through the Government’s strategic tourism asset protection programme.

It was offered $500,000 of the $2.7million it asked for.

Chief executive Paul Anderson said the company, which owns Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Mt Hutt, was "grateful" but "respectfully declined" the offer that also came attached with a $6.6million loan from the fund.

"We had said if we received the $2.7million that would allow us to open Remarkables seven days a week and increase our marketing spend, particularly into Australia.

"But, with $500,000 we didn’t feel we would be able to do that ... and we didn’t want to take the money and not offer anything back," Mr Anderson said.

NZSki originally applied for $7.5million, believing the skifield was a major drawcard to the area and thereby qualified as a strategic asset.

The request was revised after a bumper school holiday, an injection of $2.4million from the wage subsidy extension and relief from Department of Conservation fees.

Regardless, NZSki’s revenue was "significantly down" and the company would be "running a bottom line loss" this year, Mr Anderson said.

The strategic asset funding was supposed to be "funding of a last resort", so the company rejected the attached loan because money was available from parent company Trojan Holdings and the banks.

He rejected any notion NZSki was put off by negative reactions to AJ Hackett Bungy receiving up to $10.2million under the scheme.

Mr Anderson said it was an "uncertain time" and the company was still talking to the Government about the potential for future funding, should business lag.

He admitted there was little need to open both Queenstown mountains this year, as there were fewer visitors to the resort.

The company was employing 597 people this season, plus casuals, down from the usual 1250 staff.

The school holidays, when New Zealanders made up for the Australians who normally accounted for 40% of the market, had been successful, but the two weeks were a small window in a long season, Mr Anderson said.

Day passes had already fallen by 25% since the Auckland lockdown.

 

 

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