Thousands upon thousands of migrant workers who kept Queenstown’s tourism machine booming are now out of work. Covid-19 has literally destroyed the town’s tourism industry – almost overnight. From three million visitors each year – to the current zero.
Many migrant workers have been here for years – they call this place home.
Should New Zealand simply send these people away because there is no work for them, or should we try to find a way to keep them here and support them?
The sad reality is that many won’t be able to survive in Queenstown during the winter months to come. There is no work. Most will have to find a way to a new home, a different country – wherever that may be.
Southern Lens speaks to the migrant workers who still call Queenstown home, as well as to the Mayor and Chamber of Commerce CEO who, in spite of feeling sympathy, may not be able to help these thousands of once essential but now displaced, redundant people.
Filmed, edited and directed by James Haskard. Produced by Peter Newport. Made in partnership with Two Bearded Men using funding from NZ On Air.