(3:00 p.m AEST) — Cruise passengers cruising in New Zealand may be slugged an extra NZ$26.22 from next year, thanks to a new ‘travel tax’ to be imposed on 1 January 2016.
Travellers arriving in airports will pay the tax, but significantly less — NZ$21.57 (incl. GST) per air passenger.
The money collected replaces the current funding of border services, previously paid for by New Zealand taxpayers.
Although it is the cruise lines’ responsibility to pay the tax for each passenger, they can choose to add the cost to cruise fares, according to the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA). Another concern is that cruise lines will decide it is too expensive to continue visiting New Zealand.
The only hope of a reprieve is a submission by a coalition of travel organisations, led by TIA, who claim the surcharge would be “an unwelcome handbrake” on the local economy.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said the tax ignores a long-standing understanding that border services are a public good and should therefore be funded from general taxation.