11 Jan 2019

Plea for associate Tourism Minister shows confidence shaking - Todd McClay

3:51 pm on 11 January 2019

The National Party tourism spokesperson says it's clear the tourism industry doesn't have confidence in the minister to do his job, given they've asked the Prime Minister to appoint an associate.


none Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Todd McClay backs the industry's call for greater support with so many jobs in New Zealand relying on the export earner.

Late last year Tourism Industry Aotearoa wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asking for greater representation at the Cabinet table in the form of an associate minister.

She turned down the request.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said he supported Ms Ardern's decision.

"We're well aware of the interest from the tourism industry around having an associate minister but, you know, that's a decision that the prime minister will make," Mr Davis said.

"We'll wait and see what decisions she makes if and when there is a reshuffle."

But Mr McClay said the fact the industry was asking for an associate suggested Mr Davis was not putting enough effort into the job.

"Previously John Key as prime minister was also the Minister of Tourism. He was very busy as prime minister yet he took the responsibility seriously,'' Mr McClay said.

"It's for Kelvin Davis as Tourism Minister to decide himself whether he's putting enough effort into the job, I guess the tourism sector is telling the prime minister they don't think he is.''

Mr McClay said the request from the industry was "probably suggesting that they don't believe [Mr Davis] has their back and they don't have confidence in him.''

In a letter given to RNZ last month, 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."

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