Local Government New Zealand says the Tourism Infrastructure Fund of $102m over four years announced today is a welcome contribution towards meeting the country’s tourism infrastructure needs.
Infrastructure to support tourism has been identified by the industry and local government as a major issue to ensure New Zealand remains an excellent destination and communities are not overwhelmed.
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the rapid growth in tourism of the last few years has put pressure on mixed-use infrastructure or highlighted the need for new infrastructure, especially in communities with a small ratepayer base and high visitor numbers.
“We need to ensure the visitor experience remains an excellent one, and that communities are not disproportionately burdened with the cost of building, operating and maintaining the infrastructure needed to deal with huge influxes of people,” Mr Yule says.
“The Tourism Infrastructure Fund announced today acknowledges growth is creating significant challenges for New Zealand. What started out as a $12 million dollar fund last year is now $102 million, so we are now on the right track towards addressing the issues caused by rising tourism numbers.”
The scale of the tourism infrastructure need has been highlighted through several recent research reports. Work by Tourism Industry Aotearoa and supported by LGNZ identified a potential pipeline of 680 local and mixed-use projects, of which 501 were costed at $1.38 billion. A report commissioned by the chief executives of Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport and Tourism Holdings Limited called for the creation of a National Tourism Infrastructure Levy which between the industry and matching Government contributions would generate $130 million a year to fund local tourism infrastructure needs.
Mr Yule says tourism is a huge earner for New Zealand and there are many benefits associated with the industry’s continued growth.
“However given the scale of the current issue and the growth forecasts we see the need for ongoing work in this area. We look forward to working with central government to build an accurate picture of the need.
“LGNZ will continue to advocate for a sustainable, long-term funding mechanism,” Mr Yule says.