Mental wellbeing support is being rolled out to five South Island communities most affected by the absence of international tourists.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of how tourism operators and communities can access the help announced in May as part of the government’s $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan.
“Agreements have now been put in place with District Health Boards in the lower South Island to deliver this crucial support to regional communities,” Nash says.
“The $4.5 million investment allows DHBs to provide support in Kaik≈çura (Canterbury DHB), Mackenzie District (South Canterbury DHB), Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland (Southern DHB), and Westland (West Coast DHB).
“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.
“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.”
Nash says work on further business support initiatives in the five communities is progressing, and more information about eligibility criteria is available.
“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.
“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,” Nash says.
More information is available on the Tourism Recovery section of the MBIE website. The business support initiatives are:
- $10 million Business Advisory Support fund (up to $5000 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 $5000 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.
The government is working with four existing regional organisations to act as lead entities to roll out the business support initiatives in the five South Island communities, as follows:
- Queenstown Lakes District Council for Queenstown Lakes District
- ChristchurchNZ for Kaik≈çura and Mackenzie Districts
- Great South for Southland District
- Development West Coast for Westland District