Respect Goes Both Ways

Recently the New Zealand government came out with a new system of covid alert levels called the traffic light system.

This new system will come into effect on the 3rd December 2021. There are plenty of details online about how it works in general, so I will not take up any space on describing that.

However, the system does have ramifications for how we operate River Valley. In essence, the hospitality side of our business, pretty much everything that happens in the Lodge, can only operate at the Red or Orange settings if we insist on guests showing valid Covid Vaccination Certificates. Because it would simply be too difficult to separate accommodation guests from hospitality guests and rafting or horse trekking guests, we decided this would be our blanket setting.

Several days ago, we put up a post about what we are doing on Facebook.

We should have anticipated the reaction. Led by a few anti-vaxxers and others with a beef about the restrictions, there were some negative and sometimes spiteful posts. These have now been hidden.

The following is my take on where we stand.

My name is Brian Megaw. I am the Managing Director of River Valley Ventures Ltd. We are a family-owned company that has operated through good times and bad for almost 40 years. I back our collective decision in taking the path we have.

I considered two main elements when backing this decision. One is economic. I am responsible for the employment of both family members and other long term staff. I respect their right to work and make a living. If we did not adopt the Covid Pass system, we would not be able to operate, hence no employment.

Two. I respect the science around vaccinations, and though vaccinations are not perfect, all the evidence suggests that they help keep people safe. We have four family generations, either working or living on site. They vary in age from mid-80s to preschool. I make and stand by decisions that I believe will help keep them, our other staff, guests and the local community safe.

I found a couple of things interesting in reading these posts. First of all, was the knee jerk reaction from people who obviously had not read the rules around the “Traffic Light” system and who actually had no idea what it meant for a business such as ours before they spouted off.

Secondly, As a business and personally, I believe we have endeavoured to show respect and tolerance for other points of view. Respect and tolerance go two ways. In other words, save your ranting until you have some idea of what it means to operate a tourism business in today’s environment and have some appreciation of what lies behind others’ decision making.

Like many, I have found it challenging to bite my tongue and let everybody have their say – which by the way, we all still can. These restrictions, like other restrictions that have periodically been put in place, think WW2, 9/11 etc., will serve their purpose and eventually be removed having no further use. That is the way our democracy works, no matter what the conspiracy followers would tell you.

For the 92% of eligible New Zealanders who have decided, often not an easy decision, to get vaccinated to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe, we look forward to welcoming you over the summer.

Brian Megaw

Covid Traffic Light