26 Nov 2008

British PM told of NZ objections to new tourist tax

4:34 pm on 26 November 2008

Prime Minister John Key says he has significant concerns about plans by the British government to impose a large departure tax on travellers flying to New Zealand.

Mr Key voiced his objections to Prime Minister Gordon Brown during talks at Downing Street in London on Tuesday.

Changes to the air passenger duty were announced on Monday as part of a Stg 20 billion stimulus package for Britain's economy.

Mr Key says the tax is not necessarily rational and he is worried about such an idea spreading to other European countries.

The tax, to be introduced in two years, will see long-haul travellers charged an extra $NZ240. Those flying to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will be the hardest hit.

Britain is New Zealand's second largest tourist market. In the year to October, 288,823 visitors arrived in New Zealand from Britain.