Steady on – call for cap on tourism numbers in New Zealand high country
Fish & Game is calling on the Government to curb tourism numbers in the South Island high country, saying the pressure is now so high, it’s harming the environment and Kiwis’ traditional outdoor experiences.
The statutory organisation has made its concerns clear in a submission to the Walking Access Commission’s report on South Island high country access.
Fish and Game New Zealand’s Chief Executive Martin Taylor says enjoying the outdoors is a fundamental right for all New Zealanders.
But he says the pressure from high volume tourism is affecting that enjoyment.
Martin Taylor says these changes are being driven by uncontrolled tourism and he is calling for action to tackle the problem.
“We believe something needs to be done to reduce visitor numbers until the required infrastructure to cope with them is built,” he says.
“It’s not appropriate to let the current demand stay the same or grow before tackling the negative impact excessive tourism is having on both the environment and the average Kiwi’s traditional outdoor experience,” he says.
Martin Taylor says there has been a continuing increase in visiting overseas anglers wanting to enjoy this country’s globally-renowned trout fishing.
"We are proud of our world-class angling but unfortunately it is often in sensitive back country areas.
“While visiting anglers provide some economic benefit to the country, the pressure they put on the environment and New Zealanders' own enjoyment of the resource can't be ignored.”
Martin Taylor says a new, more strategic approach is needed.
“At the moment we’re struggling to play catch-up. Like many things in New Zealand, we know something's happening and then we just sit back and watch the problem grow for a decade before deciding it’s time to do something.
“Sadly, this is what has been happening in tourism and the time for sitting back and watching is over.”