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Greens Support Ministry Of Tourism

The Green Party strongly supports the Government decision to establish a new Ministry of Tourism.

The Minister of Tourism Mark Burton announced the establishment of the Ministry at the Tourism Industry Association Conference in Rotorua today.

"We are delighted that the Government has decided to implement Green Party policy to set up a Ministry of Tourism as part of a drive for greater strategic management of New Zealand's second largest industry," said Green MP Rod Donald, speaking from the Conference.

"Tourism is a significant foreign exchange earner, accounting for 16 per cent of our export income, and contributing almost 10 per cent of our gross domestic product, directly employing 94,000 people," he said.

"Yet the last Government effectively ignored the importance of policy and strategy development by lumping tourism with sports promotion and relegating both to a back room. The current Government's announcement is belated recognition of this industry's potential and pitfalls.

"A vital role for the new Ministry must be to ensure that our 100 per cent pure image is backed by real substance," said Mr Donald.

"Forecasts show the industry continuing to grow at a rapid pace, adding to the challenges New Zealand already faces. We must ensure that new developments do not undermine the very characteristics which make New Zealand a premier destination.

"Managing pressures on the natural environment is central to this. That means focusing on increasing the amount each visitor spends rather than increasing the number of visitors; that means building the shoulder and off-seasons to better utilise infrastructure and turn seasonal work into full time jobs and sometimes it may mean capping access to tourist hot spots to safeguard their sustainability.

"We look forward to the Ministry providing objective oversight to ensure the industry operates in New Zealand's best long-term interests," he said.

Ends

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