“Tourism operators are rightly freaking out about comments made by Stuart Nash about when the borders will reopen and he owes us an explanation,” says ACT’s Tourism spokesperson James McDowall.
“The Government’s worst failing during the COVID crisis has been a lack clarity and certainty, particularly for business operators who have been doing it tough.
“Now Nash has told tourism operators it could be another 12-months before the borders open. Then he said there were “a whole lot of variables.”
“Tourism operators just want some certainty. If Kiwis can return from Australia in January, is it really going to take another 12-months to open up to the rest of the world?
“Nash’s comments come as we record the lowest tourism expenditure since 2011, the COVID response and pandemic has sent tourism back a decade.
“The Tourism Satellite Account released today shows a reduction in tourism expenditure of $15.6 billion, the lowest direct value of tourism to GDP on record- a $7.7 billion reduction, the lowest number of people employed in tourism on record since 2000 and a $4.1 billion reduction from international student expenditure (for short term students).
“Either Nash should apologise, Nash should resign, or Ardern should sack him. One way or another the Prime Minister has to take responsibility.”