In a bid to help fund new infrastructure around the country to accommodate the rising number of tourists, New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party has this week announced plans to introduce an all-new NZ$25 (AU$22.80) tourist tax.
The party hopes that the tax would deliver an excess NZ$75 million per year, with NZ$45 million slated to fund new infrastructure around the country and in high demand areas such as Queenstown, and the remaining NZ$30 million to be set aside for protecting and enhancing the country’s natural environment.
Speaking on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report program, Opposition leader Jacinda Adern was confident that the proposed tax would not affect tourism numbers.
“We need to be clear it certainly won’t. In 2015 we saw the Government bring in their own levy that was for bio security purposes, and at the time they dismissed it as having any impact on tourism, and they were actually right. We’ve seen tourism continue to boom.”
“This levy, which obviously doesn’t apply to New Zealanders but only those who are visiting, will enable us to invest more in tourism, double the rate for some funds, and also on conservation.”
She said that the proposed tax was lower than what tourists are paying to enter destinations such as Australia and the UK, stating “other countries do this and haven’t found it has had an impact on their tourism”.
New Zealand has seen visitor numbers escalate by 30 per cent since 2014 to 3.6 million in the year to June, according to official records by Statistics New Zealand.