The Government’s lack of urgency around the trans-Tasman bubble means many companies that deserve to survive are being forced to close, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“To avoid more tourism businesses closing and more Kiwis out of work, the Government must open a trans-Tasman bubble before the next school holidays.
“News today that Ruapehu scenic flight operator Mountain Air is closing after 33 years because they cannot wait any longer for a trans-Tasman bubble is another example of the harm the Government’s inaction is causing the tourism sector.
“What’s worse is the Government doesn’t seem to care. Last week senior Government Minister Damien O’Connor said tourism businesses were ‘cocky’. Rather than apologising yesterday when he had the chance, he doubled down.
“Tourism Minister Stuart Nash told tourism businesses that were finding it tough to visit their accountants or close.
“This is incredibly demoralising to hear from the Government. Hardworking Kiwis are borrowing against their homes and have exhausted their life savings trying to keep their businesses afloat and their staff paid.
“Rather than criticism from Labour, they deserve a Government with a plan and targeted support until Australian tourists can come to New Zealand.
“Tourism New Zealand has estimated the trans-Tasman bubble will return tourism spend to 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels. This would make a huge difference to the struggling businesses up and down the country.
“At the very least, had the Government announced a date that travel between Australia and New Zealand would begin companies like Mountain Air would still be in operation and employing New Zealanders.
“Hardworking Kiwis deserve better, a trans-Tasman bubble must be opened before the school holidays.”