Grassroot stories from travel agents essential for political sway

Grassroot stories from travel agents essential for political sway

Travel agents are being urged to continue telling their stories so that they can be used to influence decision makers in government and bureaucracy.

Joe O’Sullivan, of Cruise World, recently took up the mantle to follow up on Shane Lust’s petition to government to have the wage subsidy extended for the travel industry. O’Sullivan says that when the petition for the wage subsidy extension was first presented there was no chance for a formal submission because the election got in the way.

‘Shane’s petition has now given us the opportunity to submit written and oral proposals to Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.’

O’Sullivan and agent Kiri Martin travelled to Wellington and made the submission, emphasising not only raw statistics but also the impact the pandemic and border closure have had on the predominately female travel work force.

‘The gist of our argument in support of wage support is that when we are in Level 3 or 4, all industries with revenue reduced by 30% or 40% receive a wage subsidy and a resurgence payment. The travel industry has fundamentally been in Level 4 lockdown since the border was closed in March 2020. And our income has been reduced by muchmore than 30 or 40%.

‘Therefore we are simply asking for the same consideration that every other business in NZ is given when they are in Level 3 or 4 lockdown.

‘Since the hearing the Select Committee has requested some follow up information. We have responded to this request and now we are waiting to hear more.’

O’Sullivan says that the situation is the opposite of ‘death by a 1000 cuts’.

With this submission we have been able to expose the issues facing the outbound travel industry to 11 additional politicians. With this, plus the work being done by TAANZ and the efforts of the New Zealand Travel Suppliers Association, we are trying to achieve survival by 1000 cuts.

‘Most importantly it was the grassroots initiatives that got us to the table last year with so many people in the industry lobbying local MPs and Ministers, and it was Kiri Martin’s heartfelt message to the Select Committee that resonated most strongly. We need more agents to send their messages and stories, which I am happy to collate and get them through to the decision makers.’

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