With New Zealand now in total lockdown, the country’s entire marine industry has ceased operations until possibly the end of April. The NZ Coastguard has also requested that Kiwis do not go boating.
“The next phase of our lives will be new to us all,” says Peter Busfield, executive director of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association. “The only thing we do know, is that we are all in this together. Just as if we were all affected by an earthquake or tsunami. And when I refer to ‘we’, I mean every person on this planet.”
Busfield says there is no escaping the immediate economic effects but hopefully the swift action by the New Zealand government and the people of New Zealand following orders in true military fashion will see the virus stamped out in NZ.
The New Zealand government has implemented a three-month wage subsidy programme and the banks have issued a six-month mortgage freeze to assist New Zealanders to survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In doing so, NZ will not be the same as the rest of the world. We will be the envy of most, as we will likely be the first country to be able to focus on starting to plan for our new future – the plan that will bring us prosperity once again.
“What I found during the first week of New Zealand’s Level 4 lockdown was the initial shock of and the magnitude of what was happening. As an employer of passionate and dedicated people at the NZ Marine Industry Association headquarters in Westhaven, Auckland, representative of 500 marine industry companies nationwide and a husband, father and grandfather, I felt responsible for leading and assisting these people where I could.”
Busfield added that: “It was exhausting in the first few days, making hurried arrangements for setting up some business continuity from home-based staff and working with my board to have some pay for the staff over the stand down period and then working with my daughter and her partner in how to manage a gym business that went from a bustling, growing, vibrant and profitable company to zero in a matter of days.
“So, where to from here? We are all affected – some more majorly than others – but all majorly. We can’t go back in time; we are faced with what we have in front of us. What I found is that after the realisation, sadness, stress, some anger and exhaustion over what has happened, I gained some optimism and renewed energy as soon as I started to map out possible future plans for the maximising of opportunities for the New Zealand marine industry, NZ Marine Industry Association operations, and my own family.
“I am confident that with the skills, the can-do attitude and the determination of New Zealanders to achieve what we set out to do, one way or the other, that we will reach our new goals. For people who love boats and boating you can now prioritise to have more time to engage with friends and family in the natural environment that the sea and lakes provide you with. I am looking forward to and will now more than ever, appreciate the next time I go boating post Covid-19.”
Images: New Zealand Tourist Board