Government proposes tourist levy to cover infrastructure costs

At $25 to $35 each, the levy could net New Zealand up to $80 million a year.
At $25 to $35 each, the levy could net New Zealand up to $80 million a year. Photo credit: Getty

Tourists could soon be charged to visit New Zealand under a proposed levy by the Government to cover the growing cost of tourism to the country. 

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said on Friday the levy - likely to be introduced in the second half of 2019 - would be collected through visa applications and a proposed Electronic Travel Authority. 

Australians and people from the Pacific Islands Forum countries would be exempt from the levy. 

The Government hopes to ease the cost burden on communities and ratepayers for tourism-related infrastructure. Mr Davis said the extra funds will be used to improve public infrastructure including toilet facilities and car parks. 

It is proposed that international visitors entering New Zealand for 12 months or less would be charged $25 to $35. The levy would collect around $57 million to $80 million in its first year, which will be split between tourism infrastructure and conservation activity.

"The previous government failed to invest in infrastructure to keep up with the tourism boom, and ignored calls to find a regular income stream for communities to cope with costs," Mr Davis said. 

"This government is determined to support councils and operators so they can continue to prosper and provide the jobs this country needs."

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said tourists would be understanding. 

Consultation on the levy is open from 15 June to 15 July, along with consultation on the Electronic Travel Authority and fees and levies proposals. 


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