Kelvin Davis rubbishes National's accusation of 'vacant' Parliament performance

  • 08/06/2018
Kelvin Davis rubbishes National's accusation of 'vacant' Parliament performance
Photo credit: Newshub.

The Tourism Minister is rubbishing claims he refused to answer questions about his portfolio, in what the Opposition has slammed as a "vacant" performance in Parliament.

National wants Kelvin Davis to be recalled to the select committee, claiming he either refused or failed to answer questions during an estimates hearing.

"The public deserves better," his National counterpart tourism spokesman Todd McClay told Newshub.

"He's got a $170 billion budget and he's given no answers about how he intends to spend it."

But Mr Davis told Newshub National came in with an agenda.

"It was clear they weren't there to hear about tourism," he said.

"They made tenuous links to topics such as broadband rollout and cellphone coverage and overseas investment - office decisions."

Mr Davis says he'd be disappointed to be recalled, maintaining he gave substantive answers.

When asked for details on Thursday on the international tourism levy which Labour campaigned on during the election, Mr Davis told MPs they'd have to "wait and see".

"We're quite confident that we won't have a problem in attracting visitors to New Zealand."

Later, Mr Davis told Newshub National knew that was a pointless question.

"I answered as far as I could given that Cabinet is yet to make decisions, and I wasn't going to pre-empt those decisions at an estimates hearing."

When the hearing asked for details on the Government's plan to bring tourists to the regions, Mr Davis replied that "of course we have a plan", but he would not share it "at this stage".

"In due course."

Mr Davis objected to Mr McClay's suggestion that a $6 million drop in the budget was a "border tax", telling him to "rephrase the question".

Mr McClay told Newshub Mr Davis kept up an "angry and dismissive" front throughout the estimates hearing.

"He wouldn't answer any questions.

"Tourism is our largest export earner in the country. And for a minister of seven months to say he didn't have the answers because they didn't relate to his portfolio is fanciful."