01 July 2015

Let's fly to Gisborne!

Tapping into Air New Zealand’s “massive” marketing machine offers the prospect of an extra 17,000 visitors, which could create around 80 new jobs and generate $12 million in regional value, says Deputy Mayor Rehette Stoltz. Overturning a decision made a month ago, Gisborne District councillors have now voted to spend $150,000 on an Air NZ campaign to push Gisborne as a destination. Previously voted down by a narrow margin of seven votes to six, the proposal was yesterday tabled once more after the Deputy Mayor acquired the signatures necessary for the proposal to be debated again. It appeared to be more palatable in its new form. Mrs Stoltz said the funding would be “up to” $50,000 a year for the next three years, rather than a flat rate of $150,000. The funds would be administered by the Activate Tairawhiti business unit, which “is only asking us to earmark the $50,000 for the marketing promotion”. “This is a match-funding arrangement. If Air New Zealand does not put in the money, then we do not put in the money,” she said. The Air NZ campaign will focus on the Gisborne-Wellington route, on which seating capacity will more than double when Q300s take to the air in August next year. “There is a risk involved for all of us in not supporting this — if we cannot get bums on seats we risk losing that air link,” Mrs Stoltz said. “What’s more, if we tap into Air New Zealand’s massive marketing, we will have the power to help change the game with an extra 17,000 visitors, which would mean up to 80 new jobs and $12 million in regional revenue.” The initiative has the backing of the business community, Gisborne Chamber of Commerce putting its hand in its pocket to the tune of $10,000, while The Gisborne Herald has offered $10,000 of in-kind advertising. The spin-off could mean more than extra passenger numbers, Mrs Stoltz said. It was an opportunity to use the market to help change some people’s “not-so-good” views of Gisborne, she said. “Gisborne needs to stay competitive with other regional centres. This offers a much-needed injection of energy into our region.” Though convinced that the threat of losing the air link was “utter rubbish”, councillor Roger Haisman agreed the perception was important. “The reality is that small planes fly to smaller regions while big planes fly to bigger regions,” he said. “What we need to ask ourselves is ‘do we want to be a smaller centre or do we want to be a bigger centre?’.” Supporting the campaign acknowledged Gisborne’s distinctive geographical location, said Amber Dunn. “We have to be a partner in this. We are a destination, we are unique. We don’t have rail, we cannot rely on our roads, so let’s help our airline.” The campaign will likely be rolled out towards the middle of next year in preparation for the launch of the 50-seater Q300s on the Gisborne-Wellington route, replacing the existing 19-seat Beech aircraft.


  1. I cannot understand why Mr Haisman does not want the bigger aircraft flying into Gisborne, Surley he does not want to have another company flying in single engine aircraft with nine seats, I am pleased that the GDC have reversed their earlier decision and will work in with Air New Zealand to promote the region. Just look at what happened when all the flights from Auckland changed to the Q300's more bums on seats.
    I am sure the same will happen when the Q300's are introduced on the Wellington ~ Gisborne route and with the seats being cheaper can only mean more visitors travelling to your amazing corner of New Zealand

    1. Yea, the Gisborne herald recently reported the council preferred sounds air to take over the route, rather than the 50 seat Q300.

      Sterling example of uncooperative and short sighted councillors strangling the regions they have been elected to serve.
      On the flip side we see councils clambering to offer ratepayer funded subsidies in secret to fend off other 'contestants' in jetstars blackmail road trip around nz.