Labour wants $25 tourist tax added to visitors' airline tickets

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Labour wants a $25 tourist tax on overseas visitors added to their airline tickets.

Labour will introduce a tourist tax to help fund tourism and conservation projects.
Source: 1 NEWS

The party today confirmed it'll introduce a tourist tax to help pay for tourism and conservation projects around the country if elected on September 23.

"The burden has to be taken by some of those visitors, as opposed to local communities, to make sure that we offer them the infrastructure and look after some of our wildlife and forests to make sure we can do that," said Kris Faafoi, Labour's tourism spokesman.

The preferred option is for it to be included in airline tickets.

"We have spoken to Air New Zealand about that. I think there are some issues that we're going to have to work through with officials and them," Mr Faafoi said. 

National's campaign chair Steven Joyce says the tourist tax "would require setting up a separate system to the one we've got at the moment to actually determine who is coming across the border, who is a visitor". 

Labour hopes the levy would gain $75 million. It would be ring-fenced for tourism and conservation projects. 

Labour's tourism spokesperson Kris Faafoi says the money will go to a fund for tourism and conservation infrastructure.
Source: 1 NEWS

Places like Queenstown and Rotorua have been asking for the tax, and Rotorua mayor - and former Labour  MP - Steve Chadwick says she already has a number of plans in mind.

"Environmental projects in particular, and also for us the sustainability of our fabulous waka forest."

But National and others aren't so keen, Mr Joyce saying there's no need for an additional tax. 

Chris Roberts of Tourism Industry Aotearoa says tourists are "already paying their way, they're already getting heavily taxed, mainly by GST". 

Labour is at pains to point out the tourist tax is not a tax on Kiwis. 

Meanwhile, National on the campaign trail is promising to fund a new rural school of medicine.

"There is an ongoing need for more GPs in our rural areas, and also to deal with the aging of the GP workforce," said Bill English, National Party leader. 

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