National On A Roll - This Time It's Recycling Tourism Funds
National’s $178 million package for tourism infrastructure is just a case of “recycle, upcycle, repurpose, retrofit,” to quote columnist Jane Clifton in The Listener.
“New Zealanders can expect more of this,” says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“In March this year, Local Government New Zealand said $1.4 billion was needed for councils’ infrastructure to cope with tourism – but that was rejected by Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.
“Instead, Mrs Bennett announced a pathetic $5.5m to help out, preceded by last year’s $12m over three years. Councils understandably were not impressed.
“Anyone congratulating the government for the announcement today is forgetting that DoC has suffered hugely from cuts of $424m over the last eight years. Today’s so-called announcement will be just stealing from money already allocated for election year theatre.
“The government took $1.5b in GST from international visitors in the year to March 2016, and $950m the year before, yet little has gone to councils that desperately need money for toilets, sewerage schemes and local road improvements to cope with tourist numbers.
“Now National is trying to take credit for fixing problems they have long argued, didn’t exist,” says Mr Peters.