The Waitangi National Trust has found themselves in a spot of bother.
They decided to start charging Kiwis again for access to the Treat Grounds at Waitangi and have mounted a PR campaign to justify it.
Lazy media have bought their cry of poverty…like the Herald.
Visitors to the splendid Treaty grounds at Waitangi probably assume the taxpayers of New Zealand happily pay for the facilities there. What could be a more worthy or natural public expense than the preservation of that place? In fact, it is run by a private trust with income from the estate of a former Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, supplemented by a charge to visitors.
Fortunately the grounds are not completely fenced and it is possible to reach the historic site for no charge, but the convenient entrance has always carried a fee. The entrance has been made attractive and informational, taking visitors through a building containing displays. The $12 door charge caused no audible outrage from the public, but in 2008 Helen Clark’s Government argued, quite rightly, that New Zealanders should not have to pay. The Waitangi National Trust agreed and made entry free for everyone except overseas tourists who would be charged $25 to cover the lost income.
In recent years the trust has struggled to cover its costs, blaming a decline in tourism following the Global Financial Crisis.