Tourism Minister's blunt warning: Govt won't 'pay people to exist'

Queenstown remained the second most popular place for foreigners to buy. Photo: Getty
Queenstown has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic: Getty
The Government will not "pay people to exist" for the next two years, the Tourism Minister has warned.

Kelvin Davis addressed questions from the tourist sector in a webinar this morning, after the Budget announcements yesterday.

A $400 million package was unveiled in the budget and Mr Davis explained this would be targeted at supporting businesses to hibernate or transition to the domestic market, and at protecting strategic tourism assets.

He said strategic assets were those that brought in wider economic benefits to an area, giving the example of whale watching tours in Kaikoura.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo: Getty Images
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo: Getty Images
The Budget also included an extension of the wage subsidy scheme until September, costing $3.2 billion.

When responding to a question on what support there was for businesses who rely entirely on international visitors and would need support past September, Mr Davis said the reality was there would be no overseas tourism for some time.

"We just don't know how long until the border will be open and we cannot tie workers to jobs that may not exist in the future."

He said anybody thinking the Government was going to "pay people to exist" over the next two years was incorrect.

"This may be a message people don't want to hear, but I have to be straight up. There are some businesses that will struggle."

The webinar was hosted by Tourism Industry Aotearoa.

Chief executive Chris Roberts said they supported the budget as a first step and welcomed government recognition that additional support would be needed for the sector going forward. 


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Tourism is not going to return for years, even after a vaccine is found and is in common use around the world the damage done is going to take years to resolve and by then many things will have changed.
Tourism has always been at risk to something like this, these businesses should have had a contingency plan. Tourism has been responsible for a large part of the spreading of this virus, there are going to need to be permanent changes, tourism is going to have to pay its own way in the future and repay the cost for the harm it has caused. International travel is going to be more expensive in the future.

Tourism could return pretty quickly once Labour are removed from power and their panicked policies are put to bed.

So Mark, would you prefer the brave moves preferred by Mr Trump or the utter idiocy of several US states where only 80,000 people have DIED and cases of covid are completely out of control.

This could be true Mark but so long as Soimon is at the helm of the blue party, Labour is here to stay.

Virus can return quickly as well.

I'll be more than happy to see the end of Disneyland in Queenstown and Rotorua.

I very much doubt it. Potential tourists are not fools. Few will want to travel on planes and the cruise ships have proved they are floatng petri dishes of viruses--which many knew before Covid came along to fully expose the risk. A change of government does not mean open slather and a return to the old way/ That way is gone and tourism needs to adjust quickly and for smaller numbers of local tourists.

Had we imported foot and mouth disease instead, would this government be leaving agriculture to die also?

I guess some people just don't realise the ernormity of what this global pandemic has caused or that some of the "panicked policies" are the reason for them still being alive today ... No doubt National would just sit back, give the 1%ers a tax break and wait to see what happens.

It's not over yet and it's pretty scarey to think what's going to happen when this virus gains a foothold in 3rd world countries who haven't got the bare necessities required to fight it ... or if it mutates into something even worse. Other countries are seeing unexpected side affects such as the virus causing damaging internal organs in "recovered" patients and children having symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease.

Maybe you should take a UK, European or US holiday Mark ... but don't forget to get vaccinated before you go !!

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