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Pick up our policy, Greens challenge Govt

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/08/2016

The Greens are challenging the government to support a conservation levy on tourists and say they won't be upset if it picks up their policy.

"John Key and the National government are most welcome to take our idea and run with it," co-leader James Shaw said on Friday.

"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.

The Greens announced the policy on Thursday, saying a levy of $14 to $18 on each foreign tourist would raise tens of millions of dollars that could be used to help fund the government's predator-free New Zealand initiative.

They say it would bring border charges up to around $40, still well below Australia's $58 and the UK's $127.

Mr Shaw says National has adopted several Green Party policies this year, including Auckland's city rail link and allowing Housing NZ to keep the dividend it usually pays the government.

He's hoping Prime Minister John Key will see some merit in the conservation levy, and persuade Conservation Minister Maggie Barry that it's worthwhile.

Her reaction after the policy announcement was that it was "half-baked and ill-conceived".

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