NZ Election 2020: National's viticulture policy promises to lessen regulatory burden, support domestic wine tourism

National said it would help encourage more domestic wine tourism.
National said it would help encourage more domestic wine tourism. Photo credit: Getty

National is promising to lessen regulatory burdens for the wine industry and help allow more seasonal workers to safely enter the country if the party is voted into power later this month.

Leader Judith Collins and viticulture spokesperson Stuart Smith announced the party's viticulture policy on Friday, ahead of the general election on October 17.

"Our picturesque wineries are world-renowned tourist attractions and provide huge boosts to the local economies of regions like Marlborough, Hawke's Bay and Central Otago," Collins said.

"National is focused on growing our way out of this economic crisis. That means giving businesses in the wine industry confidence to continue pushing forward and aiming higher."

The party said it would:

  • Amend the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act to support wine tourism
  • Pursue trade access with key markets in the United Kingdom and the European Union
  • Encourage the development of technology and science to support industry growth
  • Allow more skilled and seasonal workers to enter New Zealand through managed isolation
  • Launch a New Zealand Tourism Festival to support domestic tourism
  •  Invest $600 million in water storage through the National Infrastructure Bank

By amending the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, the party said it would allow wine tourism operators to charge for wine samples from cellar doors - something currently not allowed.  The amendment would also change rules requiring any business that operates both an on-licence and off-licence, as wineries with restaurants often wish to do, to have 85 percent of their revenue come from the sale of alcohol, something difficult for wineries operating as restaurants to achieve. 

The party also promised to develop a national policy statement on water storage "to provide certainty around the strategic use of water, streamline consenting for these projects, and set minimum environmental standards to manage the effects of new irrigation development from new storage projects".

As part of its promise to encourage the development of technology and science in the industry, National said it would seek to attract more high-skilled workers from overseas to relocate to New Zealand.