Published: 24 January 2017
Federated Farmers adding its voice to the call for more central government funding for tourism infrastructure is welcomed by Local Government New Zealand.
Tourism is booming in New Zealand bringing with it a range of growth issues, most notably from the impacts of freedom camping.
Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Katie Milne this morning said farmers were seeing an increasing impact from freedom campers using their properties. She says it is time for the Government to take the matter seriously and help communities fund the infrastructure needed to cope with large influxes of tourists.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says a decision on funding mechanisms and sources beyond property rates is becoming more and more urgent.
He says Federated Farmers is also right to note the Government is earning a significant amount of GST from tourism and in LGNZ’s view even a small share of GST could easily be allocated into a fund for local tourism infrastructure.
“Many tourist destinations have a small ratepayer base and the ability to pay for necessary facilities including carparks and toilets is limited,” Mr Yule says.
“We have been calling for greater tourism funding from central government for some time now – it is just not feasible for communities to pay for the costs associated with the tourism boom. The risks of not acting could be significant for both local communities and the tourism industry.”
A report commissioned by the chief executives of Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport and Tourism Holdings Limited released in December highlights the tourism infrastructure gap faced by councils across New Zealand and its possible implications for the industry.
The report noted rapid growth in the industry has seen a local tourism infrastructure deficit emerge in some communities, valued at $100 million for 20 councils which have experienced above average growth.
LGNZ has welcomed the recommendations in the report and is currently in the process of quantifying this gap and identifying priority infrastructure needs around New Zealand.