Labour is talking about introducing a $25 arrival levy on International visitors to fund tourism infrastructure. Although I like Labour more than National, I don't much like this idea. It feels like milking the tourists, and tourists generally resent being milked. Tourism is our most important export but if we start treating them like cash cows, we may get a rude surprise when they decide to go somewhere else instead.
I think part of the tourist appeal of New Zealand is our 'quaintness', the fact that visitors are not overburdened with excessive rules and regulations and directives. People are pretty much free to go anywhere and do anything they like, as long as it isn't too crazy. But now places are clamping down on freedom camping and our walking trails are being rationed and we want to charge $25 for arriving in the country. This can quickly make the golden gooses feel like they are being plucked.
If freedom camping is a problem, as it may well be, then better solutions need to be found than just signs forbidding it. If tourist infrastructure needs more funding, try to come up with something a little more imaginative than just another flat tax. For one thing, a fixed charge on arrival will take more out of a backpacker's budget than a cruise passenger's. I don't have an instant answer to this, but I think it needs to be given more thought. Maybe extra charges can be slipped unnoticed into other tourist products, like accommodation, tours, facilities and the like.