Tourism group says proposed levy on international visitors to New Zealand is unnecessary

Published on : Monday, November 27, 2017

New Zealand west coastA tourism group has said that the proposed charge on international visitors to New Zealand is not required and would not work. International visitors were proposed to be charged $25 per trip levy, with 60 per cent of funds collected going on tourism projects, and the rest for conservation work.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has asked for advice on implementing a levy, and said that no decisions would be made until after that was received.

The previous National Government introduced a border clearance levy, which meant people with a return ticket to or from New Zealand would pay a total charge of about $22, included in their airfare. Hence, this new plan for levy would come on top of that, but only affect visitors who are not citizens or residents of New Zealand.

The biggest impact on visitors would be on those coming from Australia.

Last week the Finance Minister Grant Robertson talked about a tourism levy, when answering questions about a new tax working group.

To quote Robertson, “We have got a commitment in our manifesto about a levy that we proposed. That is not part of this work, we are advancing that separately.”

Robertson said that work for the tourism levy was underway, but is going on slowly as it was not part of the Government’s “first 100 days” programme.

Robertson said, “There are only so many things that we can fit into the 100 day plan. But it will be worked on next year.”

Since January 2016, all international travellers have been charged a border clearance levy, to pay for border screening and security.

A spokeswoman for Hospitality NZ said that there is need for understanding on how tourism is funded.

She said, “I guess our greatest fear is if a national levy isn’t brought in, then what we will see is council’s bringing in targeted rates . . . where individual sectors of tourism get pinged.”


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