The Government is putting jobs at risk by not offering desperately-needed financial relief to businesses that operate on conservation land, National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.
Businesses with permits to operate on conservation land have seen their revenue dry up since the border was shut to tourists, but the Government is still forcing them to pay full concession fees to the Department of Conservation (DOC).
“These small businesses provide jobs for thousands of Kiwi tourism workers and the livelihoods of those families are being put at risk,” Ms Dean says.
“Their services are essential to reinvigorating our tourism sector and fuelling our economic recovery.
“Eugenie Sage has admitted the Department of Conservation declined all requests for financial relief from these concession holders during lockdown.
“Concession holders I’ve been in contact with work hard and are at their wits’ end. They deserve better treatment from this clumsy and incompetent Government.
“Eugenie Sage says she asked DOC to ‘explore’ the possibility of waiving concession fees weeks ago but business owners have heard nothing since and have paid thousands more in fees in the interim.
“I first raised the issue of waiving fees for concession holders with the Conservation Minister more than two months ago. It shouldn’t take this long for her to see sense.”