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Events & festivals at risk under local govt bill

Events & festivals at risk under local govt bill

Events and festivals enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors could be at risk if proposed changes to local government law go ahead, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) is warning.

“The tourism industry is concerned that the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill could restrict councils investing in events, festivals and other visitor infrastructure if it is passed in its present form,” TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden says.

Mr Snedden presented TIA’s submission on the local government reforms to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee today.

Council-backed events and festivals, such as the Ellerslie International Flower Show, the IRB Sevens, Taupo’s Ironman NZ, Warbirds over Wanaka, Pasifika and many others could be at risk, he says.

TIA is calling for local government to continue to be allowed to invest in the visitor industry, which creates jobs and income in communities around the country. Support from visitors makes possible a range of events and festivals that residents also enjoy, enhancing that community’s vibrancy and well-being.

“Councils are arguably the visitor industry’s most important partner, investing in and supporting infrastructure such as museums and stadia, events and festivals, and the agencies that promote and sell tourism products, such as Regional Tourism Organisations, i-SITE Visitor Centres or economic development agencies,” Mr Snedden says.

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“TIA believes councils have a vital role to play in regional economic development but this Bill does not appear to make allowance for this type of activity. The Bill must be amended to reconfirm and cement local government’s role in regional economic development.”

Opportunities exist to make efficiencies in current local government investment in the visitor industry, he says. TIA is proposing a taskforce comprising representatives from local government, central government and the private sector be set up immediately to find a national solution to investment challenges for the tourism sector.

To read TIA’s submission to the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, go to www.tianz.org.nz/main/local-government

ends

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