Labour has announced a Tourism and Conservation Infrastructure Fund.
In a land of just over 5 million people, we get more than three million people a year from all over the world visiting. International tourists spent $10b here last year, supporting more than 300,000 jobs.
The economic impact sounds great, but it’s causing strain in rural regions and small towns with small councils and the Department of Conservation.
From Northland to Southland the Department of Conservation in particular takes a huge burden and receives very little of the income benefits that tourism brings to New Zealand (The only way I managed to get a booking on the Milford Track for November this year was by diarising the day and minute that DoC said they would be accepting bookings, then furiously clicking the mouse until all the world’s booking operators took a breather for a millisecond. It’s going to be a crowded set of huts up there).
Labour is saying that it’s time to spread that tourist impact load from the taxpayers and ratepayers of New Zealand onto those who are receiving the benefit of fantastic holidays in New Zealand.
Labour is proposing: