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The Taonga Levy – over to you, Prime Minister

The Green Party is calling on the National Government to support its levy on international visitors, to help fund conservation and local tourism infrastructure.

Yesterday the Green Party announced it would introduce a new Taonga Levy – a $14 to $18 increase on existing border charges for international visitors which would raise money to properly fund Predator Free New Zealand and the Regional Tourism Facilities Fund.

“John Key and the National Government are most welcome to take our idea and run with it," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The concept of a Taonga Levy has already proved pretty popular, receiving support from groups like the Environmental Defence Society, the Tourism Export Council, and Forest and Bird.

“National has adopted several Green Party policies this year, including the City Rail Link and allowing Housing NZ to keep its dividend. We’d be happy to share one more idea with them.

“It was good to hear John Key say he thought the Taonga Levy had some merit. Now he just needs to convince Maggie Barry, who I think, as Minister of Conservation, should be open to any idea that protects and enhances our environment.

“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.

“The Government failed to back up its glitzy predator-free promise with the money to get the job done. The Taonga Levy would help make it happen," said Mr Shaw.