Cruise ship border bungle a blow to tourism

At a time when our tourism sector is crying out for help, the Government has kneecapped them by causing the Le Lapérouse cruise ship to cancel its season, National’s Tourism & Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay and Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford say. 

“The cancellation of these cruises is a huge blow to an industry already on its knees and to the 650 Kiwis who had bookings,” Mr McClay says. 

“The Government should be doing everything it can to help the tourism sector, but Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi have let them down badly. 

“Low risk, high reward ventures like this should be encouraged to aid our economic recovery. Instead, the Government is sending a message that New Zealand is closed for business.”

Ms Stanford says it is extremely disappointing that the Immigration Minister would not direct his officials to grant visas.

“Putting aside the fact Ponant set sail while reasonably expecting its visa applications would be approved, the Minister’s inability to be flexible, and for health and immigration officials not to work together, is a big concern. 

“Immigration NZ has allowed nannies working for movie stars to enter New Zealand, but not hospitality workers who hold specialised maritime training and safety certifications.

“This is another example of the Government’s haphazard handling of our border, all stemming from the lack of any plan to weigh competing interests.”