The Taonga Levy will be a $14 to $18 increase on existing border charges for international visitors only. People who live in New Zealand will not have to pay the Taonga Levy. The revenue will be split 70:30 between Predator Free New Zealand and the Regional Tourism Facilities Fund.
“The Taonga Levy will bring in tens of millions of dollars every year to help make New Zealand's dream of being predator-free a reality, and help tourism hotspots cope with rising visitor numbers,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“The Government failed to back up its glitzy predator-free promise with the money to get the job done. The Taonga Levy will help make it actually happen.
“Annual visitor numbers are expected to reach 4.5 million in the next six years. This levy will enable tourism hotspots to cope with the strain on infrastructure and keep New Zealand’s environment beautiful.
“Small communities on the West Coast and Coromandel shouldn’t be expected to wear massive rate hikes to upgrade sewerage systems to cope with the influx of tourists.
“National has done the absolute bare minimum to help councils, promising just $3 million a year to help fund new tourism infrastructure. It’s a token gesture at best.
“The Green Party is committed to doing what’s right for small communities straining under the pressures of tourism, as well as protecting our environment and precious wildlife from predators.
“I think most visitors to New Zealand will understand that paying an extra $14-$18 is worth it to help protect our unique environment and native wildlife,” said Mr Shaw.