Yesterday the Kevlar party called for tax on soft drinks. Today, tax on tourists.
Look at the issue we’ve got with kauri die-back disease. Where I live in the waitakeres, I can see it creeping across the valley. Much of the kauri in the Waitaks was felled by the pioneers to build our cities and now, as these great trees begin to reforest the area, they’re being felled a killer disease.
There’s little or no money to manage that. And very little is being down to protect these magnificent and iconic trees.
And so the tourists flock in. And we welcome them – as we should. But tourism is now out biggest earner. It’s our biggest industry. It’s leap-frogged dairy. And so how do we protect the asset that supports that industry? That asset is the landscape of this country and the flora and fauna which lives on it?
The Greens want a so-called ‘taonga levy’ to be applied to international visitors – it would be up to around $18 and so it would bring the total border levy to around $40.
Peter Dunne says we should impose a $25 tax. I think that’s probably about right. That would raise around $75 million a year.
It won’t stop people coming here. If you’re coming to new zealand it’s likely that you’re coming here for its beauty and to experience nature — and so if it’s signposted to tourists that part of their visa fee contributes to its maintenance, I can’t see how that would be a deterrent.
Lets not spend years discussing this. Instead, lets impose a tax sooner rather than later, and help to protect and maintain this country’s greatest asset.
Can we please just tell tourists to stand and deliver so we can take some money out of their pockets because Rachel wants Kauri die-back disease in her back yard paid for.
She’s quite an observational policy maker, our Rach.
Yesterday she saw a toddler in a push chair with a coke and she became a supporter of sugar tax.
Today she looked out the window at some trees and we have a tourist tax.
I wonder what she’ll look at next?
– Rachel Smalley, NewstalkZB