New Zealand’s Maori tourism sector needs certainty, decisive leadership and immediate action or risk thousands more job losses than necessary, National’s Maori Tourism spokesperson, Harete Hipango says.
“Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has left the industry in the lurch. Maori tourism leaders have called for clarity on non-essential travel, financial support and plans for trans-Tasman travel after being left hanging for the last six weeks.
“When questioned by the Epidemic Response Committee (ERC), the Minister couldn’t provide any real information on what support tourism industry stakeholders could expect.
“What was made clear by tourism leaders who spoke to the Committee is that the Government-backed Business Loan Guarantee Scheme has failed and the Wage Subsidy Scheme has simply delayed the inevitable for many tourism businesses.
“Tourism needs long-term industry specific support. Without international visitors, it will be one of the hardest hit, and will take the longest to recover.
“Maori Tourism giant and totara, Ngai Tahu Tourism announced that 309 jobs will be cut and all 12 businesses will close for the foreseeable future.
“Unemployment figures have grown by 33,000 in just five weeks since the lockdown began and Tourism Industry Aotearoa estimate some 200,000 tourism workers could lose their jobs, around half of the industry’s workforce.
“The Minister says he’s been working behind the scenes on a relief package for the sector but what that is remains to be seen.
“I challenge the Minister to take expedient measures to save and protect our precious resources of people, enterprises and experiences, and uphold the Tiaki Promise."