Treaty Ground owners making good tourism coin

Waitangi Treaty House

The media are selling it as a disaster – a drop in visitor numbers willing to pay:

A drop in the number of Kiwis visiting the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds has sparked more debate on whether people should have to pay.

While it’s free on Waitangi Day, which saw 30,000 people flock to the grounds, a charge introduced last year means during all other times Kiwis have to pay $15 and overseas visitors $25.

Since then, the number of domestic visitors has dropped by more than five per cent.

Five percent. ?So 5% down on when it was free. ?95% of the people pay anyway? ?Good grief, it’s a money spinner. ??

“We initially thought we could accommodate free admission to all New Zealanders, but unfortunately financial circumstances are such and we had to reverse our original decision,” says Pita Paro of the Waitangi National Trust, which receives no Government funding to run the grounds.

The trust is looking to boost business through marketing and an upgrade, while Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says the Government should “stump up some money” to support the grounds.

“If there’s one place that should be free and open to the public it’s the treaty grounds, the birth place of our nation,” says Mr Davis.

I don’t see why. ?It’s privately owned. ?They can do whatever they like, including closing it up and not letting anyone in. ?And the fact the government isn’t pouring tax payer money into it means we have no rights of access, free or otherwise.

To be honest, I wouldn’t stump up $25 bucks a head to go look at a lawn with a building on it. ?But it appears I’m in the minority.


– One News