Tourism businesses not a priority for Labour despite over $15 billion loss

Minister Hipkins’ comments about tourism being the last priority shows how little this Government cares about Kiwi businesses dependent on tourism, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

In an interview with RNZ, Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins said “we’re saying that tourism is the last priority, so those who are coming to New Zealand for a holiday – that’s the last priority.”

Mr McClay says the Government has got it wrong.

“Our economy lost $15.6 billion and 72,000 jobs in just one year without international tourists. Losses will continue to mount up each year we’re cut off from international tourists.

“Not one double-vaccinated person from Australia in the past three months has tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in NZ, yet tourism businesses have lost billions or been forced to close.  

“The Government should scrap MIQ for all double-vaccinated arrivals to New Zealand as a priority. Labour’s self-isolation rules will force more businesses to close and cause more workers to lose their jobs unnecessarily.

“Chris Hipkins’ comments will be disappointing but not surprising to the tourism sector. He should explain to tourism businesses why they won’t see international visitors for another 12 months, as his colleague Stuart Nash indicated last week.

“If Kiwis in Australia can come home from January, why will it take a year to open up to the rest of the world? Tourism businesses cannot afford to wait till the summer of 2023 before international tourists return.

“Throughout the pandemic, tourism operators have done everything asked of them at significant personal and financial cost. They deserve a Government that will make them a priority.”