Lonely Planet Writer

NZ tourism bids to protect pristine attractions

Tourist authorities in New Zealand want their government to bolster legislation which they say is too weak at present to protect major waterway attractions like Lake Taylor.

New  Zealand tourism authorities want stronger legislation from its government to protect the country's waterways
New Zealand tourism authorities want stronger legislation from their government to protect the country’s waterways Image by PRO Dafydd359 / CC BY 2.0

Following the public of several adverse articles and photos showing farm cattle polluting high country lake and rivers. These animals are allowed to roam unrestricted into New Zealand’s pristine tourist destinations.

New Zealand's iconic landscapes.
New Zealand’s iconic landscapes are based on a clean and green image . Image by Tom Hall / CC BY 2.0

Tourism Export Council CEO Lesley Immink said this was a “disaster” for the tourism industry and international marketing. She stressed that one of  reasons people chose to visit the country was due to its clean and green image abroad.

ETB Travel News reports the CEO as stating that water quality was the single biggest challenge the country faced in maintaining its environmental pre-eminence.

Ms Immink believed the time had come for Tourism Minister John Key and his government to recognize the important of clean water in terms of the tourism industry and the country’s economy. She said the government must make it a national environmental priority of choosing clean waterways.

Her comments support the Tourism Export Council of New Zealand (TECNZ) which in turn has backed the Choose Clean Water Tour by travelling to river and lake sites across New Zealand to document the adverse affects of pollution.

The film tour by four young campaigners l chronicles how degradation and loss of New Zealand’s freshwater environments is occurring.

There has been a strong nationwide support for the project with more than 50,000 watching the short films and an estimated ,5000 people giving their backing with signatures on a petition seeking stronger legislation for freshwater protection.

Supporters also want the introduction of tougher penalties and consequences for those that offend.

Martin Horgan, the President of the Tourism Export Council, said the motivation for New Zealand was to hand on a clean environment to future generations.

However he warned that if there wasn’t a more pro-active approach to keeping the waterways clean, there wouldn’t be anything to market in 50 to 100 years.