Wednesday 10 March 2021

The Great Reset meets tourism in New Zealand - ""thoughtless, heedless tourism" is no longer welcome

 I now have to get my news about my own country from a You Tuber from Romania.

As you can see all the coverage has come from overseas media sites.

Nothing from RNZ, TVNZ, Newshub, Radio NZ that I could see - no headlines - just this one article from a second-tier website.

A year ago we welcomed tourists to the country - the more the merrier - and the locals could go to hell - but suddenly, with the Great Reset, they are not welcome any more and the whole industry is described as "thoughtless, heedless tourism" and are not welcome.

What used to be a petty-minded, isolated, narrow-minded little country at the end of the world is becoming more so by the minute, with bells on.

All this in the name of "saving the planet" while the rich fly around in their private jets and local businesses are sent to the wall.

New Zealand to tax flights to get less tourists

Charge more for flights to deter tourists and help the planet, says Air NZ adviser

MSN News,

8 March, 2021

Air New Zealand’s chief environmental adviser has said he is in favour of increasing the price of flights to New Zealand and “putting off some people coming” as the country considers a new approach to tourism post-Covid.

In an interview with Newsroom published on Tuesday, the airline’s chief environmental adviser, Sir Jonathon Porritt, said he supported hiking the price of international flights to pay for the greenhouse gas emissions they generated.

His comments followed a recommendation by the parliamentary commissioner for the environment, Simon Upton, that people departing New Zealand (including citizens) should be required to pay a departure tax to offset the environmental cost of flying .

As proposed by Upton, the tax could add as much as $155 (£80) to an economy fare to the United Kingdom and would be used to fund climate initiatives in the Pacific.

Porritt would not be drawn on whether he supported the passenger tax, as it was tabled for discussion at Air NZ’s three-day sustainability advisory panel at the end of the month.

Related: Could Covid give New Zealand's struggling tourism sector a chance to go green?

But he said that the aviation industry urgently needed to be forced to reduce its emissions and that there was “no going back” to tourism as it was pre-Covid. Porritt said air travel was a privilege, not a right.

Controversial though it may be, I’m in favour of putting off some people coming to New Zealand. I just don’t believe in the idea that the number of international visitors to New Zealand can grow and grow and grow without limits. I just don’t believe that is credible [or] right. So, if a higher price for the privilege of flying to New Zealand puts some people off, good.”

Regina Scheyvens, a professor in development studies at Massey University, welcomed Porritt’s comments and said it was “promising” that Upton’s proposed departure tax was to be discussed by the airline.

We can talk all we like about carrots or incentives for the aviation industry to change, but we keep also hearing that aviation wants to get back to business as usual in many parts of the world – we just can’t afford to do that because the environmental and human costs are too high.”

In 2019, there had been about 3.9m international visitor arrivals in New Zealand –leading Upton to warn of a looming environmental and social crisis of the kind created by “over-tourism” in European cities.

Related: Could Covid give New Zealand's struggling tourism sector a chance to go green?

But there has been little political will to act given tourism’s contribution to the economy. The industry is considered New Zealand’s highest export earner; pre-Covid, international visitors were contributing $17.5bn annually.

After nearly a year of closed borders, many businesses and communities dependant on tourists from overseas are now in crisis. Air New Zealand itself posted a $72m half-year loss earlier this month.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern indicated on Radio New Zealand today that borders could reopen at the end of this year, coinciding with the completion of the immunisation rollout.

But the government was being urged to take action beforehand to ensure tourism returns at a sustainable level.

In his report tabled to parliament last month, Upton urged the government to take advantage of the pause created by Covid-19 and transition “to a form of tourism that is less environmentally harmful – and more resilient”.

Among his recommendations were to make government funding for tourism infrastructure conditional on meeting environmental criteria and iwi consultation; crack down on freedom camping; and give the Department of Conservation more teeth to protect New Zealand’s wilderness.

The tourism minister, Stuart Nash, has so far demonstrated reluctance for the idea of a departure tax to dampen visitor numbers to New Zealand.

But Scheyvens said Air New Zealand could be proactive in changing its business model to reflect the true cost of flying, “and show some leadership in the global aviation industry”.

It was an opportunity for the airline to establish itself as “seriously committed to operating in more sustainable ways” that could have repercussions for tourism, within New Zealand and beyond, said Scheyvens.

We do now need a completely new way of moving forward. That doesn’t mean that people can’t or won’t be able to travel internationally, but it means that many of us will have to reconsider whether we can afford it.”

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