28 Jul 2015

Māori Tourism supports travellers' levy

6:58 am on 28 July 2015

The organisation that supports Māori tourism is supporting the introduction of a levy on international travellers, which it says will take the burden off the taxpayer.

Pania Tyson-Nathan (second from left)

Pania Tyson-Nathan Photo: Poutama Trust

Parliament passed legislation in May imposing a tax, added to the cost of an airline or cruise ship ticket, to pay for customs and biosecurity staff at ports and airports.

Māori Tourism Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan, of Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, said a levy was needed to support tourist towns such as Queenstown.

She said with a tourism boom expected over the next 10 years, it made sense to generate extra revenue from that to provide better services for holidaymakers.

Mrs Tyson-Nathan said a tax on tourists would be a way of supporting Queenstown's infrastructure and generating more revenue to support the health and education sectors.

"We're already saying as a country that we don't have enough for health and education and those sorts of things, with the growth that we're expecting from tourism, that is going to have major impact on services."

The levy is expected to take effect from 1 January next year, and will be around $16 for arriving passengers and around $6 for departing passengers, although the exact amounts will be subject to public consultation.