17 Dec 2018

Tourism industry eager for an associate minister

5:18 pm on 17 December 2018

The tourism industry remains hopeful an Associate Tourism Minister will be appointed despite their initial request being refused.

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern (right) and deputy leader Kelvin Davis (left) heading into negotiations with New Zealand First.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern followed by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

The Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) approached Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month saying more representation is needed for the country's largest export earner.

Ms Ardern turned down the request.

In a letter given to RNZ, Ms Ardern said she understood the need to have ministerial representation at key sector events.

"To date, we have operated in a collaborative way where the Minister of Tourism has worked with his fellow Minister colleagues to ensure Ministerial representation at key events," she said.

"I am happy with the approach we have undertaken to date.

"However, I will continue to keep your request in mind given tourism is a diverse industry with multiple events, forums and conferences across the country."

Ms Ardern referenced the international visitor levy and the Tourism Infrastructure Fund as important work that had been undertaken by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.

Tourism is the country's largest export earner and was recently valued at $39.1 billion.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said an associate minister would provide support to the Tourism Minister.

"I note the comment that 'I will continue to keep your request in mind'," Mr Roberts said.

"That will hopefully mean it is considered at the time the next ministerial reshuffle is contemplated, whenever that may be."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs