Greens support Budget moves to protect biosecurity

The Green Party will support the new levies on international passengers to protect New Zealand’s biosecurity, announced in Budget 2015.

“New Zealand’s biosecurity is vital to our agricultural and tourism sectors, not to mention our natural environment, and so we will support the Government’s moves to strengthen biosecurity,” Green Party tourism and economic development spokesperson James Shaw said.

“The Green Party acknowledges than some in the tourism industry have concerns about these levies, but we are encouraged that the Government has committed to consulting with industry and the public about them.

“We note that the proposed levies are below the international average for travellers’ levies and we think that’s appropriate. $22 per passenger is really only a drop in the bucket compared to the price of flying to New Zealand from China, Japan, the USA, or Europe.

“The tiny risk of these very small levies putting international travellers off visiting New Zealand is nothing compared to the considerable risks that biosecurity disasters pose to our economy and natural environment.

“The Green Party is pleased that after years of cuts to border protection and biosecurity funding, which have led to costly biosecurity incursions, the Government is now paying attention.

“The Green Party will also be supporting the Government’s Budget moves to fund better rural broadband and mobile coverage, although we had hoped that more policy details would be available before the levy funding was locked in so as to ensure that the mistakes of the first Rural Broadband Initiative are not repeated,” Mr Shaw said.

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