While other international tourists to New Zealand are set to be stung with a new tax, Australians (despite our teasing of their accents and fondness for sheep) are exempt.
The New Zealand government just announced that a payment of between NZ$25 and NZ$35 will be made by all international tourists to the country. All international tourists that is, except Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, citizens of Pacific Islands Forum countries and children under two.
It is believed the tax will be collected through a newly proposed electronic travel registration process, similar to the USA’s ESTA.
The money raised from the tax (expected to be an estimated NZ$80 million) will go towards conservation funding and tourism infrastructure, following debate within New Zealand concerning the pressures caused by tourism growth on the country’s environment and infrastructure, AAP reported.
The conservation minister, Eugenie Sage, hoped visitors would understand.
“It’s only fair that [tourists] make a small contribution so that we can help provide the infrastructure they need and better protect the natural places they enjoy,” she said.
In the year to April, about 3.8 million tourists visited New Zealand, a country with a population of about 4.7 million.
Of those, the biggest group were Australians, making up 39%, or nearly 1.5 million visits.