Govt charging tourists more to stay on Great Walks 'uncomfortable' - tourism operator

Long Lunch 06/06/2018
Photo credit: File.

International visitors will pay more to stay overnight on New Zealand's four most popular Great Walks.

In some cases they will pay double what Kiwis do to sleep in a DoC hut.

Angus McKenzie, owner of Southern Wilderness, told Wendyl Nissen the move could prove challenging for hut wardens.

His specialist ‘gourmet guided walks’ business operates in the Kahurangi, Able Tasman and Nelson Lakes National Parks.

“I think it could get a little bit uncomfortable when the hut wardens are going around and trying to decide who is a Kiwi and who is not a Kiwi.

“People will have to start presenting passports – just how it’s going to be enforced is what I am wondering,” he said.

Just because you've got an accent doesn't mean you're not a New Zealand resident.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced last week a seven-month trial during the 2018/19 season.

"New Zealand's nine Great Walks are premier tracks that pass through unique and spectacular scenery and are a magnet for international visitors," Ms Sage said on Saturday.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) spends $3.8 million more a year than what it makes from hut fees.

Listen to the full interview with Angus McKenzie above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.