China’s apparent decision to pull the plug on the Opening Ceremony of the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism raises serious concerns about the state of our relationship with our largest trading partner, National’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Tourism spokesperson says.
“The China-New Zealand Year of Tourism was announced in 2017 under the previous Government aimed at bringing China and New Zealand closer together and encouraging tourism between our two countries.
“In October 2018 it was still going ahead when Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced the the Opening Ceremony at Te Papa on 20 February.
“But just late last month the event was removed from the Year of Tourism’s official calendar and the timings are now ‘to be confirmed’.
“This is being reported as China pulling the plug on the original event.
“It would be a major blow to our tourism sector if our cooperation with China stumbles before it gets out of the gate. The Government needs to explain exactly what’s happened.
“We are already seeing economic headwinds threatening the sector and the Government threatening it with new taxes.
“But the more concerning issue is whether our Government is overseeing a deteriorating relationship with one of our largest trading and tourism partners. This poses significant risks to our export sectors. New Zealand businesses and livelihoods depend on this relationship. If there are issues the public deserves to know.
“The Prime Minister needs to dispatch Kelvin Davis to Beijing to sort this mess out.”