The critical role that hospitality plays to New Zealand’s cultural fabric, economy and tourism industry have been recognised by the incoming Government announced today, with the expanded Minister of Tourism and Hospitality portfolio welcomed by the industry.
Both Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand and Steve Armitage, Chief Executive of Hospitality New Zealand have expressed renewed optimism with the announcement of the expanded portfolio of the Minister of Tourism, to include Hospitality.
“The recognition of hospitality in the tourism portfolio underscores a respect for the pivotal role that our industry contributes to the NZ economy and the tourism experience,” says Marisa Bidois.
“While Tourism and Hospitality are inherently linked, hospitality is often lost by the government in conversations about the tourism industry. Including “Hospitality” in the title, we are confident, is a positive step towards generating a more targeted emphasis on our sector within the government.
“This is something that we have advocated for, for a number of years. The hospitality industry contributes over $14bn to the national economy but government policy has regularly missed the mark when considered against the realities of our sector.
“We have been missing specialised representation by those that understand our industry’s unique challenges and attributes and we anticipate that this development will pave the way for a more cohesive representation for our sector.”
Steve Armitage, Hospitality NZ’s Chief Executive, says: “We are particularly pleased to note the specific acknowledgement of hospitality’s importance by adding it to the Minister of Tourism portfolio. This is something we have raised for a number of years, most recently through our election manifesto so it is great to see this come to fruition.”
“We are looking forward to working closely with the new Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Matt Doocey, over the coming term and to explore the synergies of his other portfolios of Youth and Mental Health.”
Beyond the Tourism and Hospitality portfolio, Hospitality NZ says it looks forward to working closely with all Ministers who’s portfolios are relevant to the sector. These include:
* Minister of Immigration – Erica Stanford
* Minister of Workplace Relations and Minister of Internal Affairs – Brooke van Velden
* Minister of Local Government – Simeon Brown
* Minister of Justice – Hon Paul Goldsmith.
Working in partnership with Government:
Hospitality NZ believes that by working together with the incoming Government the sector can rebuild and emerge even stronger after the challenges of the recent past.
Steve Armitage says: “We want to unleash the full power of the hospitality industry, showcasing it as a great career option and a major driver of growth in the New Zealand economy.”
“We can only achieve this by working constructively with the Government, and we are ready and willing to get this work underway as soon as possible.”
Based on the detail in the coalition agreements released today, there are some clear areas of opportunity and interest, including intentions to:
· Repeal the Fair Pay Agreement regime by Christmas 2023.
· Improve the Accredited Employer Work Visa to focus the immigration system on attracting the workers and skills New Zealand needs.
· Remove median wage requirements from Skilled Migrant Category visa.
· Liberalise the rules to make it easier for family members of visa holders to work in New Zealand, beginning with Skilled Migrant Category visa holders.
· Commit to moderate increases to the minimum wage every year.