Tourism Minister rescues Rotorua from certain doom

Tourism Minister Paula Bennett today announced $2.49 million in Tourism Growth Partnership funding for new tourist attractions in Rotorua …. [and Southland]

“These initiatives will provide real benefit to their regions, creating new tourism offerings and more local jobs,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Tourism is now our biggest export earner, delivering $14.5 billion and an estimated 188,000 jobs to communities around New Zealand. The industry has experienced strong growth over the past few years and we will continue to help the sector attract high value visitors to explore our regions year round.

“Funding for new projects is complemented by the Government?s $12 million tourism infrastructure fund, providing support to districts that have a limited ability to respond to visitor growth. We expect a new infrastructure funding round to open soon.”

The successful projects are:

– $810,000 to Skyfly Limited for a zip-line canopy tour through native forest in Rotorua

– $630,325 to Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter for a new state-of-the-art kiwi facility in Rotorua

“support to districts that have a limited ability to respond to visitor growth”. ?Rotorua? ?

So this is a privately owned company. ?It’s asked for, and it is getting taxpayer money because it doesn’t have it – apparently. ?Neither will any other investors back it – apparently. ? And the banks won’t provide a loan – apparently. ?I don’t know this, but I’m assuming this must be the case, because I can’t see any other way you can justify the taxpayer dipping into its pockets to help out a privately owned company.

And I do not think this is a loan. ?It’s a grant. ?A gift. ?A big scoop out of the trough.

I can’t see how this can possibly be justified in any way. ?The benefits only come to the shareholders of the company, none to the taxpayer. ?This isn’t some kind of infrastructure that is needed, it is a straight capital investment in a privately owned company.

The taxpayer should at least get a shareholding. ? Or charge interest and get the money back out so it can help someone else.

Paula Bennett wasted no time taking over John Key’s personal tourism slush fund.