Action needed on dodgy tourist tax websites

The New Zealand National Party

The Government’s clumsy implementation of its tourist tax has resulted in unofficial foreign websites popping up that could be misleading visitors and causing them to shell out even more than they need to because its own app is too difficult to use, National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Kelvin Davis promised to make it easier for people to visit New Zealand, but his rushed implementation of the tourist tax has instead led to unofficial websites and a clunky app.

“Unofficial visa and tax payment services are charging tourists huge fees to get approval to visit New Zealand. That’s on top of the new taxes and fees the Government has already put in place for visitors.

“Meanwhile, the Government has released an official app, but each visitor has to use it separately, so families cannot pay the tax in one simple transaction. It’s bureaucratic and a hassle for travellers.

“MBIE is correcting as many as a thousand applications each week made through the app because it’s poor at reading passport numbers and names.

“The Government was warned its new tax would mean fewer visitors and a loss of up to $70 million for small businesses. Mr Davis ignored this advice and pushed ahead with his new tax under urgency in Parliament, and we’re already seeing the consequences of that with falling visitor numbers from major markets like India and China.

“Unofficial sites and an app that doesn’t do its job will only put tourists off even more.

“Kelvin Davis needs to sort out his app and shut down the websites which take advantage of tourists.”

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