Tourism employment conditions in Queenstown-Lakes

This report (available here) puts the spotlight on worker sentiment and employment conditions in Queenstown-Lakes compared to New Zealand. The report has been prepared by Benje Patterson based on analysis of a nationwide survey of workers run by AUT in mid-2022 on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The original AUT summary report on tourism and hospitality employment conditions was widely circulated, particularly following the launch of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) in March 2023. At a national level, the AUT report raised significant red flags about tourism and hospitality employment conditions, particularly a concerning lack of compliance with basic legislative employment requirements and generally low levels of worker sentiment. In a Queenstown-Lakes context, there was concern that the national level results did not completely translate into the local context where many employers have been focussing on improving employment conditions to attract and retain workers amid acute labour shortages.

Key findings

  • Analysis of the AUT survey data shows that tourism and hospitality workers in Queenstown-Lakes consistently reported higher levels of workplace satisfaction and better employment conditions than the New Zealand average across a range of indicators.
  • Queenstown-Lakes’ better performance is particularly apparent regarding employers’ adherence to statutory obligations surrounding pay and employment agreements, as well as practices surrounding rostering and treating their employees with dignity and respect.
  • Despite the finding that Queenstown-Lakes’ employees report better workplace conditions than elsewhere in New Zealand, there are still some areas of concern highlighted in the survey where there is room for improvement. These areas of concern are echoed nationally and are particularly concentrated on things such as rest breaks, but more worryingly, there is also evidence of some employees reporting having experienced harassment while at work.
Percentage of employees reporting their employers adhere to basic employment obligations in Queenstown Lakes and New Zealand

A full copy of the report on tourism and hospitality employment conditions in Queenstown Lakes can be downloaded here.