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Tourism meeting demands for infrastructure

10 September 2003 Media Statement

Report finds tourism meeting demands for infrastructure, but more work needed for the future

Minister for Industry and Regional Development Jim Anderton, and Minister of Tourism Mark Burton are welcoming the release of a joint study into the effects of tourism demand on water and sewerage infrastructure. The joint Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and Ministry of Tourism (TMT) report investigates issues faced by local government in improving and maintaining an adequate standard of water and sewerage infrastructure to cope with growing numbers of visitors.

In the four case study areas (Queenstown, Kaikoura, Rotorua, and Stewart Island), visitors are currently paying for their use of water and sewerage infrastructure to meet today’s requirements. Local government is using the instruments available to them to ensure appropriate recovery of costs from service users. However, small communities with high visitor flows may face difficulties funding the capital infrastructure required for future visitor growth.

“This report is an important step forward. The case study research identifies that some New Zealand communities with low populations and high visitor numbers, such as Stewart Island, Kaikoura and Wanaka, face issues in funding the kind of infrastructure associated with visitor demand. This joint report indicates that more work should be undertaken in addressing these issues, so that the government can respond appropriately,” Jim Anderton said.

Mark Burton said that both he and Jim Anderton were pleased to see the results of the report.

“This report gives us a clear position from which to consider our response. While it appears that paying for the operating costs is not currently a problem in the four case study areas, there may be a problem for local authorities in funding the initial capital costs of major infrastructure in some areas. This particularly appears to be the case in small communities,” he said.

Jim Anderton said it was essential to balance the financial benefits of tourism to the regions of New Zealand with appropriate management of infrastructure needs.

“Tourism is already a very important contributor to the overall development of New Zealand's economy. And these four case studies clearly show us that tourism is a key economic driver in New Zealand’s regions. However, the provision of quality infrastructure is essential if we are to sustain this economic growth,” he said.


ENDS

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