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Tourism must be a core function of Council’s economic development role

Tourism must be a core function of Council’s economic development role
July 26, 2012

Regional Tourism Organisations in New Zealand are hoping that tourism and economic development remains supported in the Government's upcoming Local Government Act Amendment Bill.

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, soon to be introduced to the New Zealand Parliament, is expected to change the purpose of local government to include more transparency, financial prudence, and opportunities for local authorities to reorganise.

While Regional Tourism Organisations New Zealand (RTONZ) is in general agreement with the broad focus of the Bill, there are significant concerns that there may be adverse impacts on tourism provision at the regional level.

In their submission to the Select Committee RTONZ said that if the Purpose Statement is changed to remove current well-beings (cultural, economic, environmental and social), there needs to be clear support for tourism as a core function of economic development.

RTONZ Executive Officer Charlie Ives explains "tourism is an intrinsic part of regional economic development and brings new money to regional and local economies which support wider community and business goals.

"Our concern is that the proposed Purpose Statement, 'providing for local authorities to play a broad role in meeting the current and future needs of their communities for good-quality local infrastructure, and good quality local services', is too narrow in definition."Ives said this lack of clarity could deliver unintended consequences for tourism and regional economic development, adding "it is the view of RTONZ that the term "local public services" is ill-defined and ambiguous. This could lead to some councils seeing opportunities in tight fiscal times to reduce, restrict, or rescind funding to regional tourism, if they do not consider the sector be a 'local public service'.

"Councils will form their own interpretations as to what are 'local public services', and we believe some will err towards the provision of social and community services and facilities, which, while in itself is understandable, ignores the benefits to communities provided by a viable and strong tourism economy."

RTONZ is strongly advocating that a clearer Purpose Statement be drafted, clearly articulating the need for continued local government involvement and support for regional tourism investment and economic development, which will ensure the economic sustainability of local communities.

For more information go to www.rtonz.org.nz

18th June 2012 - FUND TOURISM TO GROW WELLINGTON ECONOMY: TIANZ

21st March 2012 - NZ TOURISM WANTS URGENT CLARITY AROUND COUNCIL REFORMS

17th May 2011 - IMPROVING PERFORMANCE IN THE NZ VISITOR INDUSTRY

27th August 2010 - NZ TOURISM SEEKS STRONGER TIES WITH COUNCILS

 


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