Key fails to do hard graft in tourism 22 Jun 2012
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22 June 2012
Key fails to do hard graft in tourism
Prime Minister John Key should turn the blow torch on himself for his poor performance as Tourism Minister in maintaining the New Zealand tourism industry at the leading edge internationally, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
“The State of the Tourism Sector 2012 report by the Tourism Industry Association and Lincoln University is an indictment of the Government’s failure to maintain the momentum of this multi-billion dollar industry,” David Shearer said.
“The fact that the tourism sector itself feels that the industry has gone flat and lost its edge is a matter of real concern. Tourism is of vital economic importance to New Zealand as a $63 million-a-day industry that employs nearly one in 10 Kiwis.
“John Key took on the portfolio himself because it is such a major one. He believed his mana as Prime Minister would provide a real boost to the sector,” David Shearer said. “Clearly it hasn’t done so.
“Other Ministers -- Hekia Parata, Judith Collins, Phil Heatley, Gerry Brownlee -- are under pressure for non-performance or sub-par performance, but John Key actually needs to take a long look at himself.
“It’s not enough for John Key to swan around indulging in photo ops and smiling and waving -- tourism needs hard graft, and needs a minister and a government that is prepared to get in alongside the sector and do the serious yards.
“If it wasn’t for the Rugby World Cup last year -- and John Key can’t take any credit for that -- the tourism sector would be up against it even more,” David Shearer said.
“The RWC is actually an excellent example of the way a government can make a difference. Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark joined the late Jock Hobbs in the International Rugby Board negotiating room and helped win the tournament for this country.
“When Labour is re-elected, we will appoint a minister who has tourism as a primary focus, not just as a plaything,” David Shearer said.
“We won’t get our tourism edge back unless we have got a government and a minister committed to working with the sector to create it. That clearly isn’t happening under John Key, and won’t happen until he goes. He saw himself as some sort of tourism messiah. He clearly isn’t!”
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