Legislation passed for visitor levy and smart border systems

Parliament has today passed legislation enabling the collection of the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) from 1 July 2019. It will also enable digital processing of the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA), which will be mandatory from 1 October this year.

The Levy will be collected through the immigration system, with travellers paying the IVL alongside visa or NZeTA fees. 

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says the passage of the Immigration (International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy) Amendment Bill enables the collection of the IVL, an important part of delivering on the New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy.

“The IVL is an investment in New Zealand. It is expected to raise over $450 million over 5 years, funding projects to ensure our country and our people get the best from tourism growth. Our international visitors will be contributing directly to the infrastructure they use and helping to protect the natural places they enjoy,” Kelvin Davis said.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says New Zealand’s natural and cultural heritage is at the heart of our tourism industry and national identity, and the IVL will help to protect that.

“Funds from the levy will be invested in projects that protect and enhance our natural environment and biodiversity, and safeguard Aotearoa’s taonga for generations to come,” said Eugenie Sage.

“As visitor numbers rise we must ensure the tourism industry is part of the solution for our biggest conservation challenges; especially the impact of invasive predators like rats and stoats, and habitat loss and degradation. The levy enables visitors to give nature a helping hand.”

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the NZeTA is an important step in strengthening New Zealand’s border security. The legislation extends Immigration New Zealand’s automated decision-making to include the NZeTA, creating a speedy and efficient service.

“Around 1.5 million visitors come to New Zealand each year from 60 visa waiver countries. The NZeTA will provide us with more information about those travellers before they arrive here and brings New Zealand’s border in line with international best practice,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

More information on the NZeTA can be found at www.immigration.govt.nz/nzeta.

More information on the international visitor levy can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website.

Notes to editors

Key aspects of the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy include:

  • Most international visitors entering New Zealand for 12 months or less would be charged a levy of $35
  • There will be some exemptions, most notably Australian citizens and permanent residents and people from many Pacific Island countries.
  • The levy will be collected alongside visa fees and via the new NZeTA (for citizens of visa waiver countries).
  • It will be easy for visitors to pay, the immigration system will determine whether a person needs to the IVL when they apply for a visa or ETA application.
  • The revenue generated through IVL will be split between conservation and tourism, with three areas of focus: conservation, infrastructure and systems. The IVL won’t replicate other funds. It will look at projects that will make long-term contributions to tourism and conservation, whereas, for example the Tourism Infrastructure Fund provides a responsive tool for dealing with local pressures on infrastructure. 
  • The Ministers of Tourism, Finance, and Conservation will approve an Investment Plan – due out in October. To help guide investment decisions, an advisory group, with expertise covering conservation, local government, tourism and Māori perspectives will be set up.