National announces $100 million tourism fund and new framework for freedom campers

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 21: National Party leader Judith Collins speaks to media after a tour Buckley Systems Limited, a Kiwi company that is the world s leading supplier of precision electromagnets, on September 21, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Judith Collins has announced the National party's technology policy, with a $1.29 billion plan to double the size of New Zealand's technology sector by 2030. The 2020 New Zealand General Election will be held on Saturday 17 October. It was originally due to be held on Saturday 19 September but was delayed due to the re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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National says its tourism policy will rebuild the industry "towards the levels of success it had prior to COVID-19", party leader Judith Collins announced in Rotorua on Friday.

"The men and women of New Zealand tourism have built an industry that is world-renowned through offering unique experiences and making visitors feel welcome," Collins said. 

She said under a National government, tourism would return to being one of Aotearoa's biggest export earners and employment levels would return to the pre-COVID levels of approximately 400,000 people. 

Part of the plan would be the introduction of a $100 million Tourism Accelerator Fund to support tourism businesses and operators.

"National has listened to the sector and developed a plan to work collaboratively by partnering with local government, iwi and tourism sector representatives as well as tourism businesses to speed up decision making and cut out the bureaucracy," Collins said.

"We will rule out new tourism taxes, bring back and enhance the collection of tourism data, and modernise legislation including the Conservation Act 1987 and National Parks Act 1980 to be more tourism friendly."

National's tourism plan:

  • The introduction of a $100 million Tourism Accelerator Fund to support tourism businesses and operators
  • Allowing travel bubbles with neighbouring COVID-19-free countries when it is safe to do so
  • Implement a consistent and transparent national framework for freedom camping
  • Support the TRENZ tourism industry conference with $5 million for the next two years and enhance the collection of accommodation and tourism data

National's tourism spokesperson said closing the border to international visitors and subsequent local lockdowns have devastated the industry, which was worth more than $23 billion in 2019.

"National has already indicated we would look at flexible travel arrangements for people entering New Zealand from countries and territories that are COVID-free, such as the Pacific Islands, but only once it was safe to do so and we had set up our dedicated border agency, Te Korowai Whakamaru/NZ Border Protection Agency."

National's spokesperson for Māori Tourism Harete Hipango said this sector would play a key part in the industry's rebuild.

"National will support and build capability for Māori tourism in response to COVID-19 through our tourism plan so that the essence of Māori tourism continues to be represented to the domestic and international market," Hipango said.