Muller announces $100m tourism fund

Todd Muller
Todd Muller
Queenstown tourism operators are "flailing in the dark" amid a lack of information and lack of action from the Government, National Party leader Todd Muller says.

Mr Muller was in the resort town yesterday. He visited Coronet Peak and took the opportunity to unveil a $100million tourism fund to back new ideas to reinvigorate the tourism industry in the wake of fallout from Covid-19.

Mr Muller told the Otago Daily Times the mood on the ground was "sobering" but there was some optimism.

That optimism hinged on the much touted "transtasman bubble" and some certainty from the Government about when that might occur.

Tourism, hospitality, and retail operators were "instinctively" looking at ways to adapt to keep their businesses going, Mr Muller said.

"Businesses have at their core a sense of optimism, that is what gets them up every day.

The Tourism Accelerator grant programme is the second announcement from the new party leader in as many weeks, before this year’s general election, following last week’s JobStart policy.

Jim Boult
Jim Boult
The programme would be over four years for projects where a National-led government would split funding 70/30 between government and private sector investment but government would not be a stakeholder.

It would be open to tourism operators, businesses, iwi or groups of investors with ideas to stimulate demand in tourism.

Mr Muller said the Government had been slow to give any detail about what sat behind a "very large sum of money" referring to the Government’s $400million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund announced in this year’s Budget.

However, when pressed on details of National’s programme Mr Muller did not offer specifics, except to say it was natural that the funding would gravitate to tourist-centric areas like Queenstown and Rotorua.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult said the programme hinged on the details.

"There’s no specifics - the interesting thing is what the details are."

He said promotion of domestic tourism and opening the transtasman bubble were critical.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan met Mr Muller yesterday to discuss dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic in the district and part of that was the need to keep tourism infrastructure in place so operators were still there when the recovery happened.

Enterprise Dunedin’s director John Christie said he would have to wait until there were specifics as to where that funding would go, but welcomed funding to the tourism sector.

"It is a sector that will take longer than most to reach any sort of recovery."

In Southland, Deep South chief executive Graham Budd could not be reached for comment.



Sounds like my Great uncle (RIP) back in the day, He promised me a Tree hut at my grand parents place, he'd even ask me what I wanted in the tree hut, ask me what tree I wanted it in, yet nothing was ever built. Sounds like a similar promise just a pie int he sky to get votes- but who else is there.

Not one of these politicians are asking the real question, do kiwis want tourism back to what it was?
NONE of the people I've spoken to want anything close to it. Maybe it's time they got with the program and listened to citizens for once in their lives.
There also needs to be some truth in the numbers, namely the real cost of so many tourist and how much money is actually earned from it. In central otago at least there is a large drop in quality of life for locals with and the tourists as well.

Muller has just proved he and nats are no different by not giving details, and it's not like they didn't have time to sort some of that out.

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter