Tourist tax: Who will and who won't have to pay the levy of up to $35 to visit New Zealand?

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has this morning acknowledged the New Zealand tourism industry expressed concerns to him about the new proposed levy of up to $35 during its conception.

Mr Davis announced the tourist levy in Wellington today, set for a start date of the end of 2019, and assured any negative impact on visitor numbers to our shores was taken into consideration when designing the levy.

In particular, a number of major tourist markets to New Zealand will be exempt from the toll.

"I know the industry had concerns. I've heard them, and have taken them into account when designing this system," Mr Davis said.

"But we know given the projected growth in visitors, doing nothing is not an option.

"Let me be clear, it will not apply to a New Zealand citizen or permanent residents, it will not cause disruption at the border, and it will not affect our major short-fall markets of Australia and the Pacific Islands."

Mr Davis said it was not fair New Zealand residents continued to shoulder the burden of conservation infrastructure in particular - which is worn down by the growing tourist numbers.

The Tourism Minister said the $3.8 million international visitors that arrive in New Zealand every year, is expected to grow to $5.1 million by 2024.

"In many places our tourism infrastructure is creaking at the seams as you all well know," Mr Davis said.

"We don't believe the financial burden should rest purely on the shoulders of New Zealanders, we do believe that visitors should pay their fair share."  

Details of the levy

Most international visitors entering New Zealand for 12 months or less would be charged a levy, proposed to be between $25 to $35.

There would be some exemptions, most notably Australian citizens and permanent residents and people from most Pacific Island Forum countries.

The levy would be collected through visa fees, and via a proposed Electronic Travel Authority process for citizens of visa waiver countries.

The Government says levies would collect around $57 to $80 million in its first year, depending on the rate, which will be split between tourism infrastructure and conservation activity.

The levy will likely be implemented in the second half of 2019 as it will have to go through a legislative process.

Consultation on the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy is open from today until July 15, along with consultation on the Electronic Travel Authority and fees and levies proposals.

Kelvin Davis says it’s not fair New Zealand rate payers continue to shoulder the infrastructure burden. Source: 1 NEWS

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1 NEWS political team discuss what happens for Simon Bridges, once leak investigation is finally released

The 1 NEWS team discuss the potential aftermath for leader Simon Bridges once the investigation into the National Party leaker is released.

It comes after the Opposition leader launched an investigation to look into who leaked Mr Bridges' expenses. 

Mr Bridges' MP expenses were released earlier than scheduled last week, with $113,973 spent on travel and accommodation between April and June.

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Read: Jessica Mutch McKay's analysis on the Simon Bridges leak. 

A weekly catch up with 1 NEWS’ political reporters about the stories they’ve been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

The 1 NEWS team discuss the potential aftermath for leader Simon Bridges once the investigation into the National Party leaker is released. Source: 1 NEWS

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Search continues overnight for crew member missing from Sealord vessel off Wairarapa coast


The search for a crew member missing from a Sealord vessel  off the Wairarapa coast is continuing through the night. 

The company says mid-morning this morning crew onboard the Otakou became aware a crew member did not report for duty.

A full muster was conducted to confirm this, and a search was immediately commenced and authorities notified, Sealord said.

The four vessels involved in the search will search overnight, and will review the situation after sunrise tomorrow.

The two helicopters searching were stood down at nightfall.

Weather conditions in the area are fair but are predicted to deteriorate tomorrow.

Source: NZ Topo Map

Sealord said it is making all effort to notify next of kin. 

It said the crew member was not on active duty at the time of disappearance and the reason for the disappearance is not known at this stage.

All other crew are accounted for, however, they are very concerned for the safety of their team member, the company said. 

Sealord is taking this situation very seriously and is providing support to all staff, it said.

The company is also cooperating with all search and rescue instructions, it said.

Earlier tonight Vince Cholewa of the Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre said the centre was advised of the crew member overboard around 11.30am. 

At that time the person had been in the water for 50 minutes or less, he told 1 NEWS. 

Mr Cholewa said there were four vessels and two helicopters involved in the search - Otakou, two other fishing vessels, the police launch Lady Elizabeth IV, a LifeFlight helicopter and an Air Force NH90. 

The estimated location is 11km east of Glendhu Rocks.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord


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Partner at Russell McVeagh quits after investigation into ‘inappropriate’ drunken comments

Russell McVeagh has today confirmed the resignation of a partner following an independent investigation into complaints over inappropriate complaints made while intoxicated, the law firm said in a statement.

It’s now put the spotlight on the whole legal profession and other industries. Source: 1 NEWS

Russell McVeagh board chair Malcom Crotty said, "A thorough investigation substantiates the complaints and the partner concerned has apologised and tendered his resignation.

"We are deeply disappointed in the partner at the centre of the investigation."

Mr Crotty said the firm "is committed to changing the culture" of their organisation, adding that they "all recognise that change requires collective and long-term commitment".

It found a culture involving “excessive drinking” and at times “sexually inappropriate behaviour”. Source: 1 NEWS

"All partners in the firm agreed to uphold and lead the change," he said.

"The partner concerned let the firm down and we have now lost trust and confidence in him. The Board determined that his conduct has fallen below our expected standards and we have accepted his resignation.

"There is no place for inappropriate conduct at our firm. Despite the circumstances, it is encouraging that our people have spoken up."

Russell McVeagh has arranged to meet with the New Zealand Law Society following the investigation.

The man made inappropriate comments while under the influence of alcohol. Source: 1 NEWS