If we’re ‘open’, then let’s be open

Posted by on May 29, 2020 at 05:09 PM in General

Abbe Hutchins, Chief Executive Marlborough Tour Company Group

“New Zealand is open for business, support local, back your backyard.”

As the country heads into Queen’s Birthday Weekend, these are the messages that should be being shouted from rooftops.  We are now heavily reliant on Kiwis to help our businesses, particularly tourism and hospitality businesses, survive.

Yet the endless apps to download and forms to complete, the empty seats on our limited regional flights, reduced passenger capacity on Cook Strait ferries, and above all the continued messaging from Government to social distance, to stay clear of other people, to remain very wary, tell an increasingly conflicted story.

Even more worrisome are reports that many government departments aren’t planning to return to operational capacity in Wellington’s CBD until sometime between October and December.

No new cases, none in hospital… all cases recovered in the South Island. Lockdown is over. The Government needs to be communicating messages of real confidence, not ‘cautious optimism’. It’s time be truly positive about New Zealand’s future, even if it’s a domestic future for the interim.

So how can the Government genuinely communicate that New Zealand is ‘open for business’?

It’s simple. Get the public sector up and running.  Encourage employees back to work in central cities where they will support local cafes and retailers.  Encourage officials to travel to the regions as happened before the lockdown.  Not only would this ensure Wellington understands the issues regions are facing but it also gives airlines confidence to open up capacity throughout the country and, with it, urgently needed passenger and freight services.

Stimulate through investment – not entrenchment. 

At the same time, start peeling back some of the restrictions facing businesses so that they too can interact confidently with their customers and offer the sort of experience that stimulates demand and continued investment in New Zealand’s future.

It’s time for 100% Pure Commitment by the Government – let’s start with the public sector and the ‘business’ of government.



For more information, please contact:

Abbe Hutchins | Chief Executive | Marlborough Tour Company 

Ph +64 3 577 9997 | Mob +64 27 267 8866 | [email protected]