Nash should front up to desperate tourism businesses

Tourism destinations dependent on international visitors need urgent government action if they are to survive the Government’s closed border, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“It is appalling the Tourism Minister hasn’t visited places like Te Anau, Franz Joseph, Fox Glacier and Haast since Labour came into Government in 2017.

“These are important tourist destinations wholly dependent on international visitors.

“Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has told these businesses that the ‘cold hard reality is that they must visit their accountants or bank managers or close’.

“Actually the ‘cold hard reality’ is that Labour has put these businesses and their staff in the ‘too hard’ basket.

“In the Economic Development Select Committee today, MBIE confirmed that AJ Hackett was given $10 million of Government funding without putting in an application, yet businesses in other hard-hit areas have been left to fend for themselves.

“It’s clear there is no plan to get these businesses through until international tourists return.”

A report released today by Development West Coast says 25 per cent of residents have already left since New Zealand's border was closed and projects two-thirds of businesses will have closed within the next six months, resulting in an unemployment rate of up to 80 per cent in these towns.

“This is as avoidable as it is unacceptable. The Government needs to provide targeted support to these important destinations if they want them to still to be there when visitors return,” Mr McClay says.

“I challenge Stuart Nash to front up and visit these businesses and find a solution to help them survive.”