18 Mar 2011

Big fare hike by Air New Zealand upsets artists travelling to Niue

2:26 pm on 18 March 2011

Artists planning to attend a festival in Niue say they feel punished by Air New Zealand which operates the only international flights to the island.

Artist and businessman Mark Cross has made a submission to the Niue Chamber of Commerce calling for greater diversity in flights to the island.

He says the Niue Festival of Arts and Culture due to be held on the island next month is an example of how economic growth and significant cultural events are being affected.

He says the artists tried to schedule their gathering so it would boost tourism and not compete for Air New Zealand seats for regular visitors but the airline then hiked fares to double the regular off season rate.

"The festival organisers went our of their way to put this festival in the off season just to accommodate Air New Zealand, to put people on the plane during the off season. If they're going to charge top dollar, well we're just saying we might as well have it in the middle of the tourism season."

Mark Cross.

Air New Zealand weekly flight to the island is underwritten by the Niue government.