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Political Alignment On The Role Of Tourism

25 July 2002

Political Alignment On The Role Of Tourism – But Put It On The Front Bench

In a rare example of pre-Election cross-Party agreement, tourism spokespeople from National, Labour and the Greens all affirmed the significant role of tourism for New Zealand’s economic growth.

The consensus view was reached by party delegates at a forum held by the Tourism Industry Association in Auckland yesterday.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of yesterday’s discussion,” says Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive, John Moriarty. “In fact, there was a stunning degree of alignment between the three parties present. All agreed that tourism is a core competency for New Zealand. And one which will take this country forward with sustainable growth.”

John Moriarty says that tourism has been the unsung hero of economic development but the Government must now take the needs of the industry more seriously.

“We’d like the incoming Government to treat tourism with the same degree of political will as it treats the agricultural sector.”

“We’ve identified four key points needing the urgent attention of the incoming Government. Labour, National and the Greens agreed that these issues need to be addressed if New Zealand is going to achieve this industry’s growth potential.”

“Our challenge to the incoming Government is to move the Tourism portfolio to the front bench, marrying the Tourism portfolio with that of Economic Development. Only then will the Government be giving this sector the attention it deserves and needs,” he says.
- 2 -

The four points under discussion at yesterday’s forum were:

 That tourism is a ‘core competency’ for New Zealand and New Zealanders. It’s an industry we can all contribute to. Building these competencies requires urgent attention.

 The advancement of tourism requires investment not only directly into the tourism business, but also into support activities such as education and training. Investment to leverage business growth is vital.

 Tourism contributes well over $1 billion in ‘export’ GST and excise taxes, yet the infrastructure needed to sustain the industry is not seen as a national priority. Some of this return needs to be ploughed back into growth.

 Tourism is populated by small businesses in a very competitive and at times volatile market. Compliance costs can often stifle new initiatives. Relief is needed.

- ENDS

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