Tourism talkfests announced in Budget 2020 are wasteful and potentially harmful to taxpayers, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Among the slew of Budget announcements was the formation of yet another working group: a ‘New Zealand Futures Tourism Taskforce’ that will ‘lead the thinking on the future of tourism’. Working group members will presumably be paid by the taxpayer.”
“Kelvin Davis should already be taking advice from the tourism sector – it’s one of his key duties. Why does he need to set up a working group to spend months producing and consulting on reports? The sector is facing urgent issues today. The formation of a new bureaucracy is a classic example of a politician making himself look busy with ‘outputs’, when businesses need outcomes – and fast.”
“There’s also a risk that the group will be captured by special interests. The Minister has a responsibility to the general taxpayer, and mustn’t allow a select group of tourism operators and bureaucrats to dominate his thinking, especially when it comes to taxpayer-funded handouts.”
“Then there’s the separate ‘Tourism Recovery Ministers Group’. This one is just baffling. Why does Kelvin Davis need three other Ministers and an Under-Secretary to help him do his job? Don’t the Ministers of Finance, Maori Development, and Conservation have enough on their plate?”