We are sure Tourism Minister Stuart Nash thought it was big deal, when he announced details of how businesses can apply for help under two initiatives from the $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan announced in May.
On the other side of the political divide, National’s tourism spokesman, Todd McClay, harrumphed that this was a “reannouncing” of a business support scheme for some South Island regions which provides nothing new for struggling tourism operators.
More particularly, McClay reminded the Minister that much of the country will be dropping to Alert Level Three late tonight. This does not mean a return to business as usual.
The announcement (or reannouncement) was one of two new posts on the Beehive website since your Point of Order monitors last checked.
Latest from the Beehive
New business support for tourism operators in five South Island regions can be accessed from this week, with specialist local agencies now appointed to deliver the scheme.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Brendan Boyle as a Panel member of the Ministerial Review into the Future for Local Government.
In her statement, Mahuta said Boyle is well-respected and recognised for his extensive central government experience, holding several top-level leadership positions across the public sector.
He also held the role of Secretary for Local Government, providing him with a comprehensive understanding of the local government system.
Boyle fills a vacancy created when John Ombler withdrew last month due to personal health reasons.
He will join four other members of the Review panel, Antoine Coffin, Gael Surgenor, Penny Hulse, and Jim Palmer (the chair).
On the tourism initiative, Stuart Nash said agreements had been put in place with the agencies which will lead the business support programme in Fiordland/Southland District, and Queenstown Lakes, Mackenzie, Westland and Kaikoura Districts.
The first initiative will provide professional one-to-one support and tailored advice to help businesses adjust to the impact of COVID19. The second offers further grants to help put that advice and planning into action, to suit their own circumstances.
“We are in a strong position to continue backing jobs and businesses to provide certainty in challenging times. As always, the best economic response is a strong health response.”
The change to alert levels for the South Island from tomorrow would enable business owners and operators to be able to access their premises to prepare for contactless opening, including public health requirements, Nash said.
The $20 million tourism business support scheme offers grants up to $5000 per business for expert advice on planning in response to COVID-19.
A further grant of up to $5,000 is then available to help implement the plans and advice.
The specialist local agencies contracted to deliver this support will draw on their own expertise, networks and in-depth knowledge of regional economies to get the best for each business. They are:
- Development West Coast for businesses in Westland District,
- Great South for businesses in Southland (Fiordland) District,
- ChristchurchNZ for Kaikoura and Mackenzie District businesses, and
- Queenstown Lakes District Council for businesses in Wanaka, Queenstown and surrounding areas.
Details of eligibility criteria, and contact details for lead entities are on the tourism recovery section of the MBIE website
In his riposte, Todd McClay was scornful..
“Tourism businesses cannot open their doors in any part of New Zealand today. This reannouncement suggests it’s business as usual for the Government while every tourism business struggles.
“Giving $5,000 to consultants and accountants to tell tourism companies they haven’t got any tourists is of little help to these businesses.”
The Government should focus on getting New Zealanders vaccinated so the country can return to an environment where tourism is thriving.