15 Jul 2021

Mental health support roll-out for regions hit by tourism downturn

3:52 pm on 15 July 2021

Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities hit hard by the loss of international tourists.

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Tourism Minister, Stuart Nash Photo: Dom Thomas

The support was first announced in May as part of the government's $200 million tourism support, recovery and re-set plan.

Today Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the agreements were in place with district health boards to deliver the crucial support to regional communities.

They include Kaikōura, Mackenzie District, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and Westland.

"The DHBs will provide a range of mental well-being services and initiatives at a local level. They will work with communities to decide what's needed and how it's delivered," Nash said.

"Businesses, workers and their families in our tourism destinations are facing challenges from border closures designed to keep New Zealand safe. The support in the Tourism Communities Plan allows decisions about wellbeing resources and services to be made by those at the heart of the communities themselves."

Work on further business support initiatives was progressing for the five communities, he said.

Each community now has a lead entity to manage the business support services, and recruitment is underway locally to support them. The initiatives include business advisory support, a grant to implement the advice, and a kick-start fund. They are on track to be available from later next month," Nash said.

"We want access to this support to be easy for businesses to tap into. Businesses will be talking to one person locally about what support is right for them. I encourage businesses in the five communities to check their eligibility criteria on the MBIE website."

The initiatives include:

  • $10 million Business Advisory Support fund (up to $5,000 per business) to enable businesses to receive expert advice and support such as changing target market, or scaling their business.
  • $10 million in grants for businesses to implement business advice (up to $5,000 per business).
  • $49 million Tourism Kick-start Fund, to contribute towards existing tourism businesses scaling back up for the return of international visitors. The grant will be calculated based on two weeks of pre-COVID revenue set at two weeks of average revenue for 2019.