26 Sep 2023
The Auditor General’s Report on the Strategic Tourism Asset Protection Programme (STAPP) confirmed what many businesses have been saying – that this Labour Government has been biased and unfair, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“Every tourism business in New Zealand has done it tough over the last two years and this report has shown that this Labour Government favoured some and left others to suffer.
“In May 2020 the Government and former Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis opened a $290M fund for struggling tourism businesses. When applications opened, some businesses were accepted without any evidence that they were in financial difficulty, and didn’t have to go through the same process as other businesses.
“The Government seems to believe that only Queenstown exists when it comes to tourism in New Zealand, when in reality there are tourism operators up and down the country who are suffering just as much.
“In typical Labour fashion, they simply threw money at a problem without having a well-managed plan. Current Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has blamed the uncertainty of Covid-19 for these mistakes, but the reality is they failed to think things through at a time when tourism businesses needed them most.
“New Zealanders deserve to have a Government who are responsible with their spending, but this Labour Government has proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted to make wise or fair spending decisions.
“I am calling on Minister Nash to find those funds that were given out incorrectly, take them back and redistribute them to all Kiwi tourism operators so that they can open up quickly for international tourists.”