Thousands set to miss out as Aucklanders leap at Govt's 100,000 vouchers

Anne Gibson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jan 2022, 12:34pm
Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / Getty Images)
Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / Getty Images)

Thousands set to miss out as Aucklanders leap at Govt's 100,000 vouchers

Anne Gibson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jan 2022, 12:34pm

Around 140,000 registrations have been lodged for 100,000 vouchers for summer activities to "reactivate" Auckland after last year's 107-day lockdown but registrations are still coming in. 

That means many people may miss out on this round, winning some of the 90 deals to have a good time after their sacrifice from last August. 

A spokesperson for the scheme launched last month by the Government and Auckland Council said those high application numbers were received for Explore Tāmaki Makaurau vouchers. 

A $37.5 million reactivation package includes $12m in vouchers to attractions, discounts to Auckland Council facilities, funding for events and food support. 

The voucher system announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on December 1 is being run by the economic and cultural agency Auckland Unlimited which gave an update today. 

"Since registrations opened on December 15, as of Monday, January 10, there have been 140,000 registrations," the spokesperson said today. 

Registrations are still open so thousands more could be lodged, meaning even more miss out. 

But Mayor Phil Goff was upbeat. 

"These vouchers recognise the long months of lockdown in 2021 when Aucklanders made significant sacrifices to protect the rest of New Zealand from Covid-19," he said. 

"I hope families and people throughout the region will enjoy this opportunity to experience some of the world-class attractions and destinations that make Auckland a great place to live. By encouraging people to move around the city and visit new places, the vouchers will also provide a boost for businesses such as restaurants and cafes." 

The first of four draws starts this Saturday. 

Winners will get emails, sent to the same email address as they used to register. That will tell them which attractions they can visit. 

The attractions are not free but offered at significant discounts. 

"Vouchers can be used to cover or contribute towards the cost of enjoying experiences and activities across Auckland region, with eligible experiences listed on a special website," the spokesperson said. 

Tourism attractions, tours, commercial pools, water-based attractions, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, cultural tourism like exhibitions and performances, escape rooms, trampoline parks, mini putt, museums and art galleries are all being offered. 

Aucklanders have until February 25 to register for further draws on February 1, February 15 and March 1. 

People have been able to register from December 15 and now Auckland Unlimited will make the first allocation of the vouchers through an online platform. 

The vouchers would be available for use until April. 

The programme website's list of attractions offers tickets to the Sculptureum at Matakana, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for the Mary Quant show and the All Blacks Experience. 

Some others listed include: 

  • A Kawau Islandsupercruisefrom $44, saving $44; 
    • A Waiheke wine tour day from $129, saving $36; 
    • Skydiving for $255, saving up to $70; 
    • Butterfly Creek all-areas pass from $17.40, saving $11.60; 
    • Paradice Ice Skating in Avondale from $9, saving $9; 
    • AJ Hackett Bungy from Auckland Bridge for $155, saving $50; 
    • Waiheke e-bike rental for $50, saving $35; 
    • Parakai Springs Hot Pools entry for $22, saving $5.60; 
    • Snowplanet four-hour pass for $50, saving $50. 

Other attractions would also be added and people are being encouraged to check the spam folder of their email accounts in case responses go there. 

Many other attractions are listed but these give an idea of the range of options and prices. 

Not everyone was delighted with the scheme at the time it was launched. 

The Herald reported last month how restaurants, bars and businesses in the hospitality industry were not included in the scheme. 

The Restaurant Association said its members were gobsmacked at being left out of the voucher scheme. 

"We are deeply disappointed that hospitality has been forgotten in this package," chief executive Marisa Bidois told the Herald. 

"The industry is gutted ... there's no other word for it. 

"We are one of the hardest-hit industries. The Government is fully aware of that. Yet time and time again we get left out ... there is a lot of disappointment in our sector."