Plans to integrate the Ministry of Tourism into the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) have been confirmed.
Tourism is one of the country’s leading export industries and the move to bring the ministry under the umbrella of the larger MED is aimed at lifting its performance, the Prime Minister said today.
Prime Minister John Key, also the Minister of Tourism, said the integration would ensure tourism was positioned at the heart of the Government’s economic plans as a significant player in growing a high-value, productive economy.
“There will still be a Minister of Tourism, a tourism portfolio and a separate appropriation for Vote: Tourism,” he said.
“The same approach is taken to other portfolios at the centre of New Zealand’s economy such as commerce, energy, and communications,” said Mr Key
The decision follows an independent review by consultants Martin Jenkins and Associates, which focused on the responsibilities of the government’s twin tourism agencies the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism New Zealand.
It found that tourism would benefit from greater integration and a sharing of functions and expertise common to the Ministry of Tourism and MED, including policy, research and monitoring.
“I have made it clear that, just as with all other parts of the bureaucracy, I expect my key tourism agencies to lift their game and provide better value for money,” said Mr Key.
Decisions around structure and staffing post-integration would be the responsibility of the MED chief executive and final decisions were expected to be made in the next few weeks.
Labour spokesperson for tourism Kelvin Davis said job losses could be expected around the corner as a result of the change.
“Cost cutting in this area will mean New Zealand Tourism will suffer,” he said
The Tourism Industry Association has opposed the integration, which was flagged last week, saying it went against international trends for dedicated ministries with specialist staff -- which would be of more benefit to the competitive industry.
Mon, 19 Jul 2010