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Govt's $170m for tourism infrastructure

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/05/2017
Paula Bennett © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Paula Bennett

The government says it'll spend more than $170 million on tourism infrastructure over the next four years in a bid to help local council's struggling to keep up with a boom in the industry.

Speaking at the TRENZ tourism conference in Auckland on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett launched a $102 government fund that would be aimed at helping local councils build new car parks, toilets and freedom camping facilities as record numbers of tourists reach New Zealand shores.

The fund will be made up of $60m of new money in this years' budget and about $41m from two current tourism growth and infrastructure funds.

Local Government New Zealand in March said nearly $1.4 billion would be needed for new public toilets, car parks, camping facilities and other basic infrastructure if the tourism industry is to keep up with booming arrival numbers.

Ms Bennett said it was not fair to put the entire burden of the tourism boom on a small number of ratepayers in towns and the fund would allow some of the costs to be redistributed.

With co-funding from local councils and private companies, the fund could easily grow to $200m, she said.

Meanwhile, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry unveiled another $76m would be set aside for tourism infrastructure on Department of Conservation sites.

Over four years, the fund will see about $45m going to an operation fund and another $31m on new capital, including improving DOC's online services, expanding the Great Walks network and accommodating growing demand.

Ms Barry said the fund would also allow the department to develop computer systems to introduce a differential charging structure for international tourists using the DOC estate from next year.

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