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50-50 split for passenger clearance costs

16 December 2004

50-50 split for passenger clearance costs cautiously supported by tourism industry

The Tourism Industry Association represents 3500 businesses and organisations within the tourism industry. Members include airlines, airport companies, and regional tourism organisations, rental car, coach and taxi companies, inbound tour operators, accommodation providers, tourism attractions, researchers, training organisations and tourism services providers.

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export earner – accounting for 17.8% of this country’s export earnings. The Tourism Industry Association organises the New Zealand Tourism Conference, TRENZ and the New Zealand Tourism Awards. Go to www.tianz.org.nz

The tourism industry is supportive in principle of a 50/50 government/industry split in the funding of passenger clearance services at the country’s seven international airports, says Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIANZ) Chief Executive, Fiona Luhrs.

Commenting on yesterday’s Media Statement by Finance Minister the Hon Dr Michael Cullen, Ms Luhrs says this split will provide an opportunity to put the funding of passenger clearance services such as customs, aviation security and biosecurity on a more sustainable footing.

“Until recently, passenger services at the border have been under-funded and investment in border infrastructure has not kept pace with the growth in the number of passengers travelling in and out of New Zealand. Our borders are the first introduction our visitors have to New Zealand and its people, and processing standards must ensure that passengers are processed in an efficient, timely and friendly manner.

We are quietly confident this review can lead to the funding of border services that are either consistent with or exceed that of other high quality destinations around the world,” says Ms Luhrs. At the same time, Ms Luhrs says there are still a number of issues to work through with officials next year.

These include: how costs would be allocated across airports, how performance and service costs would be monitored, and how services would be funded to reflect the 24 hours a day/seven days a week nature of an airport business. TIANZ also favours provisions to enable the funding of public services at new airports where it is in the national interest to do so.

“The devil is very much in the detail. We look forward to continuing our discussions with officials in 2005 to come up with policies that can fairly and sustainably fund quality passenger clearance services into the future,” says Ms Luhrs.

ENDS

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