Marriage equality in Australia not expected to have large impact on resort
A LUXURY super yacht operator says a move towards marriage equality across the Tasman will only make a slight dent in Queenstown’s booming marriage industry.
After Australians overwhelmingly voted in favour of samesex marriage in a postal survey, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday he wanted the federal Parliament to approve samesex marriage laws before Christmas.
Pacific Jemm manager Blair Payne said Queenstown’s wedding industry had always known it was a ‘‘matter of time’’ before Australia followed New Zealand in making the change.
He estimated the segment made up 3% of the resort’s wedding industry, which benefited businesses such as caterers, photographers, limousine services, celebrants and wedding coordinators.
‘‘It was nice to have, but you don’t rely on it. It’s not like it’s going to shut down any business.
‘‘We treat it as a couple of years of a bonus, always knowing that something would happen in Australia.’’
Mr Payne said the resort would continue to be a magnet for marriages, including samesex couples, particularly from Australia.
‘‘Probably 90% of my clientele who had their weddings on the boat were from Australia.
‘‘Not only do you have the couple, you have 40 relatives who come over and visit Queenstown as well.
‘‘Regardless of any law change, we’re still a brilliant venue to come to.’’
Of the more than 12 million Australians who participated in the survey, 61.6% voted in support of marriage equality. The response rate was 79.5%.
New Zealand legalised samesex marriage in 2013.
The Otago Daily reported in March the resort’s wedding industry had boomed, with a huge increase in weddings with Australians — especially gay couples — since then.
It is estimated the resort hosts more than 1000 weddings a year, as well as blessing ceremonies for Japanese and Chinese visitors.