6 May 2020

Ngāi Tahu Tourism to cut 300 jobs and puts most businesses into hibernation

6:06 pm on 6 May 2020

One of the country's largest tourist operators, Ngāi Tahu Tourism, will cut 300 jobs and put most of its businesses into hibernation.

Shotover Jet in Queenstown.

Shotover Jet in Queenstown. Photo: 123RF

The organisation operates iconic businesses including Shotover Jet, Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, Hollyford Track, Rotorua's Agrodome and Rainbow Springs.

Each year, Ngāi Tahu Tourism hosts more than one million guests across its iconic businesses.

Ngāi Tahu Holdings chief executive Mike Pohio and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai released a joint statement following staff consultation, saying the workforce will be cut from 348 to just 39 workers with most leaving in June or July.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision, but unfortunately the impacts of Covid-19 are devastatingly deep and far-reaching," they said.

"As a result, we expect to write off the equivalent of the last five years of Ngāi Tahu Tourism profits. Even if the domestic market soon picks up, it will not be enough to sustain our current operations or staffing."

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters will remain open at a reduced capacity.

Work on the yet-to-launch All Blacks Experience in Auckland will continue but an opening date has not been set.

The remaining businesses are in the process of hibernation.

"Our job now is to adapt our portfolio of tourism assets for an industry that will be undoubtedly different in light of this virus, but still filled with opportunities in the months and years ahead," the bosses said.

"With this in mind, we have retained the key capabilities we need so we are able to reopen at least to the domestic market when conditions permit, starting with Shotover Jet and Hukafalls Jet."

While the decision cut close to 90 percent of their workforce, they said Ngāi Tahu remained confident the steps were necessary to ensure the future viability of their tourism portfolio.

"We are grateful to our Ngāi Tahu Tourism kaimahi for their high level of engagement, professionalism, and understanding throughout this challenging time.

"We greatly value the contribution they have made to the organisation and to the iwi, and to have reached this outcome is truly devastating. We are continuing to do everything we can to support them through this period."

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