Letter to the NZ Listener
Your Peak Paradise article was timely, given MBIEs conservative forecast of visitor numbers exceeding our population by 2022 but the solution proferred by McKinsey, The Green Party et al, whilst adding to Government coffers, does not address the core issue – CAPACITY. The increasing mobility of a growing global middle-class along with cheaper air fares will far outstrip any attempts at using relatively modest fees to control tourist numbers. Similarly, proposals to invest in increasing the capacity of our sole drawcard – the public conservation estate, refuels the growth-at-any-cost lobby to build roads, hotels and monorails in our parks, thus killing, or at least seriously winging, the very goose that lays the golden egg.
A far better and longer-term approach is to determine rigorous (as opposed to wadeable water ones) environmental limits for all our economic activities, including tourism, and then to seek out ways to prosper within those limits. Whether the cautious ‘High Value, Low Impact” tourism policy of Bhutan or a more equable tourist lottery, akin to the US Green Card system, either applicable at national or site specific level. The NZ Outdoors Party is calling for an independent Parliamentary Futures Commissioner to address issues such as this.
We’re not making any more back-country (quite the opposite), Federated Mountain Clubs warn of Kiwis being squeezed out of their own back yard, fishing guides recount tales of overseas anglers thrashing our premium trout rivers for months on end and us locals are becoming increasingly frustrated at freedom campers turning our reserves, car parks and riversides into squatter camps. It seems only DOC recreation manager Richard Davies is “thrilled” at visions of thousands of tourists backsides when tramping any of the Great Walks.
David Haynes, Alan Simmons
NZ Outdoors Party
Ph: 03 546 6051